techJoYnT wants to make learning FuN

January 5, 2015

In an attempt to broaden students’ horizons, techJoYnT Academy provides hands-on enrichment programs for those in kindergarten through 12th grade.

TechJoYnT encourages science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by teaching classes about game design, electronics, app development and robotics. These after-school programs are taught by a volunteer engineer and have no more than 25 students per class.

“I think having these skills will hopefully pique their interest, and they start looking at those options for college and career choices in the future, which is going to be necessary by the time they graduate,” said Yolanda Alexander, director of instruction for techJoYnT.

One of the classes techJoYnT offers is a game design class, in which students are provided laptops and instructions on how to develop a basic 2-D video game.

Once the organization grows a bit more, so will the difficulty in the game designs, depending on the interests of the students.

How it started

Wanting to give back to students and provide them opportunities they wouldn’t typically have, Ray Shaik founded this organization about three years ago. Since Shaik’s background is in engineering, he asked Alexander to join techJoYnT due to her experience in working for public schools for more than 17 years.

“We have married the two fields of engineering and education so we can best meet the needs of the schools and the students,” Alexander said.

TechJoYnT currently is only working with students from two schools, but the organization hopes to reach out to more schools. Alexander and Shaik have been talking to schools in the area, while also working with other organizations, such as Police Athletic League, Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City and Workforce Oklahoma.

One of the biggest challenges the organization has faced is trying to ensure that there is enough funding for the programs. Alexander said she thinks all students should have access to programs such as this that would further their education.

“I believe that what we do is giving students the opportunity to experience something that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do,” Alexander said.

Originally published in News OK

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