Press Release:

The Tech Museum of Innovation announces new vision and name: The Tech Interactive

Beloved San Jose institution creates bold plan for taking its proven STEM education programs worldwide and deepening local impact

San Jose, CA, May 23, 2019 — Twenty years after opening its doors, The Tech Museum of Innovation today announced a new name and a new focus for its future. The cultural institution is now The Tech Interactive, a nod to its hands-on nature and in-depth STEM educational experiences. The institution also announced a new 20-year vision: to develop problem-solvers locally, nationally and globally, with the ambitious goal of reaching 100 million people a year by 2039.

“Our new name is a reflection of who we are and the experiences we’ve become known for,” said Tim Ritchie, president and CEO. “The Tech Interactive has long been a place where people learn by doing, and now we have a name that says that to the world.”

At an event at The Tech Interactive today, Ritchie explained the institution’s decision to expand programming beyond its iconic building in downtown San Jose:

“In the past several years, people and organizations from around the nation and around the world have approached us to ask for help using our brand of educational pedagogy, and we came to understand that what we have to offer is valuable beyond Silicon Valley,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie announced a groundbreaking partnership with Discovery Education — an offshoot of the Discovery Channel and the global leader in standards-based digital K-12 curriculum worldwide — as a centerpiece of the expansion plan. Over the next three years, the two organizations will work together to develop digital versions of San Jose-based experiences and exhibitions to reach Discovery’s global education network of more than 5 million educators and 51 million K-12 students, who span more than 90 countries.

The first experience to be incorporated into Discovery’s platform will be based on Cyber Detectives, an exhibition in The Tech Interactive that teaches the fundamentals of cyber security. Starting in 2020, students from around the world will be able to access a version of the exhibition from their classrooms, helping them learn to protect themselves online and develop skills they might use to pursue a career in cyber security. Over the course of the partnership, the two organizations will also develop digital classroom tools in the areas of environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship.

“As a global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content and professional learning for K-12 classrooms, Discovery Education is proud to partner with The Tech to help transform teaching and learning,” said Amy Nakamoto, Vice President of Partnerships for Discovery Education. “The Tech has a proven track record of inspiring people to develop problem-solving power. Together, we are motivated to help students gain the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy.”

To reach the goals unveiled today, The Tech will pursue a multitude of strategies to widen and deepen its impact, including:

  • Widespread distribution of new hands-on activities: Animaker, an artificial intelligence experience in which users teach a computer to recognize animals they’ve built with LEGO bricks, is already engaging new audiences at a science center in Singapore, after being nominated for an Interactive Innovation Award at SXSW. Mushroom Bricks, developed in The Tech Interactive’s Biotinkering Lab, is being offered at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. More experiences and partnerships like this are in the works.
  • Expansion of local teacher professional development programs: The Tech Academies program currently reaches about 20,000 students per day in some of Santa Clara County’s most underserved schools. The program trains teachers in how to use Design Challenge Learning — a mix of project-based learning and engineering design — in their classrooms to help build students’ problem-solving power. By expanding its depth and breadth, The Tech Academies will reach 125,000 students in Silicon Valley per year by 2039, helping to close the opportunity gap.

  • Expansion of national and global professional development programs: Tech educators have spent the past year developing digital versions of the tools they use to support local teachers. These tools will be available to all educators, whether in East San Jose, Western Kentucky or Southern India. Educators from The Tech Interactive will also travel to partner sites to conduct in-depth, in-person professional development sessions designed to match local needs. For example, staff members will visit Jefferson, Iowa, next month to support educators there in their effort to prepare their students to participate in the technology economy, as part of a partnership developed with the help of Rep. Ro Khanna. Staff will travel to Bangalore later in the summer to do the same thing, and are in discussions with partners in Kenya, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

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About The Tech Interactive

The Tech Interactive is a family-friendly science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose. Our hands-on activities, experimental labs and design challenge experiences empower people to innovate with creativity, curiosity and compassion. The Tech is a world leader in the creation of immersive STEAM education resources to develop the next generation of problem-solvers locally, nationally and globally. We believe that everyone is born an innovator who can change the world for the better.

Inspiring the innovator in everyone.