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TechTeens is a youth program of the California Academy of Sciences where young people develop their technology skills, explore science and nature, and create cool digital science stories using diverse media.
Since 2011, the California Academy of Sciences has been pioneering innovative youth programs that combine science exploration, digital media creation, and youth voice. TechTeens leverages the power of technology to inspire youth to be science communicators and civically engaged leaders.
Our program provides youth with important 21st century skills such as leadership, collaboration, and design-thinking—all necessary in developing future leaders. While learning valuable workplace skills from the Academy professionals and beyond, youth are provided with numerous opportunities to share their digital science stories with the public on the museum floor and on various digital platforms.
Youth in the TechTeens program work with Academy experts to explore technology used in scientific fieldwork and research. TechTeens learn how to code using Python programming language and build their own sensors using Raspberry Pi single-board computers. No prior coding experience required.
- Visualization Studio Internship
In collaboration with the Academy’s Visualization Studio, we support internships for youth to work alongside the Viz Studio staff on a variety of video production tasks and responsibilities. Interns gain valuable workplace and technological skills. Interns are recruited from within the Academy youth community.
Science Viz Team (2014-2015)
TechTeens in the Science Viz Team created different digital media to educate the public about cool, cutting-edge science. These teens produced short science videos, infographics, animations and other media that inform the public about the scientific research and collections that reside at the Academy. These videos have been put on display on the museum floor and on the Academy's YouTube page. Watch the Videos
Science News Team (2014-2016)
TechTeens in the Science News Team research and write online articles on different critical science topics that they choose, and then facilitate and track online discussions about those topics. Our media partner KQED disseminates the articles by the youth on the web, via Twitter, and directly to classrooms around the country. Past topics chosen by the youth include e-cigarettes, ivory poaching, and sexism in the science community.
Science Game Team (2015-2016)
TechTeens in the Science Game Team develop and prototype science games to educate the public about the research done by Academy scientists. Youth will work together to develop artwork, audio assets, and game design that will turn into a working, playable game.
TechTeens is an active leader in several networks and partnerships in the Bay Area and beyond.
The Mix at the SF Public Library
The Academy supports youth programming at The Mix at the San Francisco Public Library, an innovative, 21st century teen learning space for youth ages 13-18 to explore, create and develop digital media and computer skills.
KQED Do Now
The Academy partners with public media outlet, KQED, on their "Do Now" initiative, a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues using social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine. The TechTeens write blog posts on controversial science topics of their choosing that are then published on the KQED website. The posts are discussed and debated in classrooms around the country, with responses posted via Twitter, on the blog, and elsewhere.
The Academy provides a variety of out-of-school-time programs for middle and high school-aged youth, with applications opening seasonally.
Grades: 9th - 12th graders
Location: California Academy of Sciences
Day/Time: Tuesdays, afterschool
Duration: Fall and spring
The TechTeens program is supported by the Hearst Endowed Fund for Science Education.