The Tech: A Spirit of Innovation


Manage episode 292743308 series 66750
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"Everybody is an innovator," says The Tech Interactive President and CEO Katrina Stevens. And she and her staff have been living that statement. Since 1998, San Jose's STEAM-oriented science center, The Tech Interactive, has been introducing small visitors--and tall ones!--to science and engineering concepts. These activities are fun- and exploration-oriented. Often, visitors to The Tech don't even realize how much they're learning. But with 2020, Katrina, and her staff, faced a unique challenge. With their physical location closed due to COVID, they still needed to continue "inspiring the innovator in everyone". "Our doors were not open, but we were still open for business," Katrina says. Within a matter of weeks, The Tech rolled out their remote-education program, "Tech At Home", Creativity and fun are at its very core. Which is even more exciting when we add one fact: Katrina began serving at The Tech's first female CEO and President in November, 2020. In other words, she never met her new staff "in person". She and her crew accomplished their collaborative projects, including a Tech Challenge competition and a new exhibit, "Solve for Earth", remotely. But with a background in learning science which included serving as Deputy Director for the Office of Educational Technology during the Obama Administration, Katrina inspired her team to soar beyond their previous excellence. And today, they're gearing up for a new adventure. The Tech Interactive's Grand Reopening, of their physical site in San Jose, happens Saturday, May 29th! Katrina talked about her experiences, taking the helm of The Tech, offered a preview of their grand reopening and shared some concepts and resources for fellow education professionals who'd like to inspire students to explore STEM concepts. On this edition of Over Coffee®, we cover: How Katrina (who has an arts background) first realized the power of technology in education; How she and her staff pivoted, to continue providing STEAM lessons and resources during the pandemic; A preview of The Tech's May 29th reopening; A closer look at the brand-new exhibit, "Solve for Earth" A much better alternative to "drilling" kids over summer, to keep them learning and having fun; Some of the very cool inventions students makers created, during The Tech's recent Tech Challenge; Some of the maker challenges which The Tech offers in their "Tech at Home" section (including some for arts-oriented students!); The story of the time capsule which The Tech created as they opened (and how some of the predictions for twenty years later played out!); A current time-capsule project for the future!; Some of the considerations involved in The Tech's programming, in their mission of making STEAM and engineering activities accessible to all students; One surprising insight into getting girls interested in robotics; How The Tech is changing perceptions and unconscious biases to open STEM education and maker activities to all students; Some of the maker exercises which The Tech offers and which their young participants are sharing on Tik Tok; Katrina's advice on a "superpower" for teachers, as they introduce students to science-based activities; A number of resources for teachers and homeschooling parents, courtesy of The Tech at Home; Why The Tech's Tik Tok channel includes some videos about networking and communication; Some of the skills Katrina considers essential for the future workforce; One of the lessons Katrina, as an education professional, has most enjoyed learning since taking the helm at The Tech; How one of Katrina's favorite experiences with a hands-on museum led to her work with the Obama administration; And, some of her favorite memories from working with President Obama's administration;

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