Tech EdVentures launched one year ago with a big vision: teaching engineering, robotics and computer coding to children. If yesterday’s one year anniversary celebration at NoD Coworking is any indication, then the future is looking bright for this North Dallas startup.
Dr. Allen Selis, Tech EdVentures’ founder, greeted a packed room of 200 parents and children with one difficult question: “How many of you think that your children’s schools are preparing them for the future?”
Only two hands went up. Selis honed in on the skills that kids will need. Hands-on problem solving, collaboration, and experience with failure, iteration and experimentation.
“These are the keys to success in a 21st Century economy, and this is the vision that drives Tech EdVentures,” Selis said.
After directing private schools in the Midwest and Silicon Valley, Selis brings a mix of urgency and excitement for high tech learning to Tech Edventures’ programs for young children:
- * Preschool: 4-6 year olds learn basic electronics
- *K-2: Kindergarten through second graders build and program robots
- *3-5: Third, fourth, and fifth graders learn more advanced robotics, game design and programming in Python.
Tech EdVentures’ niche focus on high tech for young kids has won some loyal supporters. Sarah Good, Director of the Highland Park Presbyterian Day School invited Tech EdVentures to create an “EdVenture Lab” on site. This one-of-a-kind program will be among the first in the nation to bring an engineering mindset to preschool children.
Uplift Education, a high-energy charter school with 26 divisions across Dallas serving underprivileged children, invited Tech EdVentures to provide after-school programming for over 400 children a week in neighborhoods south of downtown.
After-school and weekend classes in Preston Hollow and Plano are expanding as well. For the first time ever, Tech EdVentures is offering an all-girls class in digital animation on weekends.
Dr. Selis summed up the journey so far, “we started with 13 children one year ago. Our client base just hit 750, and we get requests each week to offer new classes. We have identified a need in the market place that is huge, and growing. We are going to change what education looks like for a whole generation of kids, starting right now, here in Dallas.”
If you scanned the room during Tech EdVentures’ celebration, that goal seemed close at hand. Groups of children clustered around a 3-D printer, others explored Python coding at a bank of lap-tops or clicked through Scratch programming scripts. On the opposite side of the room, preschoolers built simple circuits with batteries and LEDs, while others led robots through an interactive maze.
The future looks exciting for these kids, and for Tech EdVentures, too.