By L.A. LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
A sleek new teaching tool, the Geekbus, plans to roll out to schools, social agencies and military bases in San Antonio in March.
Louie Pacilli, director of education at Geekdom, a collaborative coworking space downtown, will be taking the Geekbus to kids throughout the city.
“The Geekbus teaches kids to make and build things with their hands and then connect them online to the Internet of Things,” Pacilli said. “We want kids to play and create with circuit boards today which become the tools we need for tomorrow’s society.”
The idea is to expose kids to job opportunities in fields like Cloud Computing, which are in high demand and pay well. The demand for workers with Cloud Computing skills is projected to grow 26 percent annually through 2015 and as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs are available right now worldwide, according to an IDC report released last December.
Like SparkEd, the weekend program held at Geekdom that teaches middle school students about technology and entrepreneurship, the Geekbus aims to spark student’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Entrepreneruship, or STEAM-E, a term Pacilli coined. The activities on the Geekbus will focus on “teaching kids how to quantify and calculate objects aligned to the theme: Land, Sea, Air and Space,” Pacilli said.
“We teach kids how to use Makey Makeys which are today’s Tinker Toys, Legos or Erector Sets and so much fun,” Pacilli said.
On the Geekbus, about 30 students at a time will build circuit-based devices to connect things to the Internet. The goal is to visit 30 middle schools and reach 4,000 kids between March and June, Pacilli said.
On March 19th, the Geekbus is scheduled to visit Mark Twain Middle School in the San Antonio Independent School District.
“It’s a great way to introduce middle school students to careers in the IT field,” said Roxanne Rosales, executive director of academic support for SAISD. “We’re thrilled to be able to expose kids to these opportunities.”
Mark Twain Middle School students have already participated in the weekend SparkEd program at Geekdom and they really liked it, Rosales said. The Geekbus’ mobility makes it easier to reach even more kids at once, she said.
The Geekbus is a free program that complements the current school curriculum, Pacilli said.
“We are doing this in San Antonio because San Antonio is fast becoming a national tech hub – we want our local kids to grow up prepared for the future jobs to come and build the world they want,” Pacilli said.
Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News