Making a Difference in Nashville with the Rural Tech Fund


If you were at BSides Nashville you may have seen me standing next to the Rural Technology Booth in the community area. If you didn’t get a chance to come by and say hi, I want to introduce myself and the cool work we’re doing.

My name is Chris, and I started the RTF about ten years ago to help introduce kids in rural and high poverty areas to technology and potential for jobs in this field. We do that by partnering with passionate teachers and donating equipment and curriculum to their classrooms to better enable tech education. This includes things like Raspberry Pi’s, Lego Mindstorms, 3D Printers, Arduinos, Sphero robots, and more.

 

From small beginnings, we’ve managed to make a pretty massive impact. Last year alone, we were able to introduce over 30,000 students across to technology in nearly 40 states. Several of those kids were in and around Nashville thanks to the proceeds we raised at the conference last year.

 

These are students from Mrs. Johnson’s K-4 classroom in Antioch. We were able to donate a Dash & Dot Robotics kit to help them add a STEM component to their curriculum. Here, you’ll see the students using a tablet to provide instructions to the robot.

These students are from Ms. Gregory’s library. We helped her turn the library into a Makerspace with the addition of littleBits electronics kits, Sphero, Dash & Dot, and Wonder Workshop STEM and robotics sets. These students are letter their imaginations run wild while trying to design and code their robots. Because this makerspace is in the library, every student in the school will have the opportunity to get excited about technology.

We’re doing amazing work and I’m excited that we have the opportunity to spread the word about it at BSides Nashville and reinvest the money we raise back into the local community.

 

Even if you didn’t get a chance to say hi last year, don’t worry! We’re going to be back this year! We’ll be selling t-shirts and hosting a raffle for free tech books and training. Once again, all the money we raise will be invested in Tennessee and the greater Nashville area.

 

I’ll see you there!

 

Chris Sanders

Director, Rural Technology Fund

http://ruraltechfund.org