It may not be Silicon Valley — or even New York City’s so-called Silicon Alley — but the Bronx is trying to make a name for itself in the tech world.
On Feb. 17, several dozen people attended an event hosted by the Bronx Tech Meetup group at Manhattan College to learn more about education technology and technology education.
Ed tech, explained organizer Tom O’Connell, is using technology in the classroom to teach all sorts of subjects, from science to social studies. Tech ed, on the other hand, is teaching students about computer science and coding.
The whole discussion was new to Riverdale resident Alex Magid, a tech worker who was at a Bronx Tech Meetup for the first time.
“I’m actually interested to know what this project was all about,” he said.
Mr. O’Connell is the program director for Code/Interactive, a non-profit that runs after-school coding programs and helps schools integrate tech ed into their regular curriculums. One way the organization is accomplishing that last goal, Mr. O’Connell said, is through Code/Bronx, an extension of the mayor’s initiative Computer Science For All.
“There are no magic factories pumping out computer science teachers, so we’re training regular teachers to teach computer science,” Mr. O’Connell said of Code/Bronx.
Jason Thigpen, who owns a technology business and teaches an after-school robotics class in the South Bronx, came out to meet like-minded educators and explore new educational resources. This was his first time hearing about Code/Bronx.
“It’s very crucial, it’s critical, it’s important,” he said of teaching technology skills to Bronx students.
What does Mr. Thigpen think of the Bronx becoming a hub for the tech industry, as many politicians have called for?
“It could be, if it parallels with education. [If] you have a whole bunch of tech businesses but you aren’t teaching the children how to code, you’re going to… get a lot of talent from elsewhere, but you want to be able to source locally, too,” he said.