Nextech wins Tech Education Mira Award
Nonprofit tech education champion Nextech won the Tech Education Award award during TechPoint’s 21st annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
Computer Science knowledge opens more doors for students than any other discipline in today’s world and prepares all students to be active and informed contributors to our increasingly technological society, whether they pursue careers in technology or not. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of Indiana high schools did not offer computer science as a subject as late as the 2018-19 academic year. One of the largest reasons Indiana schools did not offer computer science was a lack of qualified teachers.
The Mira Awards judges found the brilliance in Nextech’s strategy to not just find ways to teach computer science to students, but to teach the teachers themselves. Nextech facilitates a series of professional development programs for grade-specific computer science curriculum. In 2019, Nextech facilitated 81 workshops, resulting in 10,326 hours of training for 1,114 K-12 teachers from 399 schools across Indiana. In total, 40,384 students were enrolled in classes taught by these teachers.
The program supports teachers with diverse backgrounds, and whether they are experienced or new to teaching computer science this program promotes growth in teaching practice and provides space to become comfortable with the curriculum and associated teaching strategies.
The judges were also impressed by Nextech’s direct student engagement program called Catapult. Catapult is a yearlong immersive experience for Central Indiana rising high school Juniors and Seniors that helps students aspiring for a career in technology to develop technical and workplace skills, authentic peer relationships, a passion for community service and deep roots for a lifelong personal and professional connection to Indianapolis.
In 2019, Nextech facilitated 4,757 hours of programming for 48 area high school students as part of the Catapult program.
TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana people, places, companies and products during the 21st annual and first-ever virtual Mira Awards gala with presenting sponsors Eli Lilly and Company, Genesys, Infosys, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Salesforce.
A total of 15 award winners and honorees were chosen from the 129 outstanding people, places companies and products that were selected as nominees for their achievements during the 2019 calendar year. Forty-eight independent, volunteer judges spent more than 850 total hours evaluating applications, interviewing nominees, and selecting this year’s winners. Judges included company founders, CEOs and presidents, CTOs, CIOs, and other subject matter experts.
The Mira Awards are named after the first of the brilliant variable stars to be discovered – the Mira Star. It is also the Latin root meaning “worthy of admiration, wonderful, marvelous.” The awards represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.