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Blog // Connect Ohio

Techie Club

By Lyndsey Kleven

One way that TECH CORPS promotes technology in education is through its Techie Club program. The goal of Techie Club is to provide students with lessons focusing on a variety of computer topics, promote twenty-first century skills, and provide students with an awareness of technology and STEM-related careers.

Techie Club is for 3rd to 6th graders and is being implemented in 15 locations across Ohio this year. The club is run differently at each school and can be adapted to meet the school’s environment and needs. In most locations, it is volunteer-lead and held as a yearlong afterschool program meeting 60 to 90 minutes once a week. Volunteers go to the school and work with the children throughout the year, teaching them programming, robotics, html coding, and how to build websites.

“This year, more than 160 technology professionals are volunteering with the Techie Club program in Ohio,” said Lisa M. Chambers.  “Using the Techie Club lessons, these volunteers are introducing elementary school students to everything from writing code in html to programming in Scratch.  As a result, these students are taking their first steps to building the skills necessary to enter a STEM pathway.”

“The hope is that the students build technology skills through the Techie Club activities over the year,” said Eva Bradshaw, TECH CORPS volunteer and Director of Education Technology at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “Mainly what we think it [Techie Club] does is help them to feel empowered, learn new skills, and utilize technology to its full potential. Exposing them early, in a very fun way, so that they want to work in the technology field when they grow up.”

Bradshaw has been a TECH CORPS volunteer since 2000 and has led a Techie Club group at Weiland Park Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio for the past four years. The Techie Club group she worked with is somewhat unique to the Techie Club program as it is made up of all female students, 4th and 5th graders.

“Techie Club connects students with a mentor that is from the business world,” said Rhonda Peeples, Weiland Park Elementary School principal. “Not only do they have experience to teach technology skills, but the volunteers are people who are very knowledgeable about higher education and serves as a career opportunity resource.”

Over the course of the year students will also learn Lego robotics — utilizing motorized programming, learning about networks through simulation, and a computer “take apart” day. Programming is taught using a program geared for children; they learn through controlling and programming a cartoon cat.

“Techie Club helps to develop an interested in vocational and college tracks, preparing students for life in a STEM world,” said Peeples.

Bradshaw says it’s hard to find a 4th grade girl who has not used a computer. Many of the students do not necessarily have them to use at home but most have had exposure.

“Techie Club is an extension to the learning day that infuses technology into the teaching and learning process,” says Peeples.

Peeples says Columbus Public Schools is aware that its students need to exit high school prepared for rigorous courses that will be required either in a college or vocational setting. Technology is becoming the driving force of success and Techie Club is helping to pique the interest of students in the roles of technology in daily life. The club also gives students an edge that allows them to be well versed in technology and successful in life.

“They really do get excited about Techie Club, and they keep coming back,” said Bradshaw. “I gauge their feedback from how loud the room is, if it’s loud they’re having fun and learning. It is important to have women in IT who are volunteering, to show students it’s possible for them to do it and get them excited about it, so that they’re ready to take my job when I retire.” 

Learn more about Techie Club

Learn more about education month

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