J school pitches technology teaching project

Project organizers have already contacted Apple, Adobe, Google, IBM and Sprint about introducing students to their programs and technologies.

The School of Journalism is pitching a new project to help cultivate technological knowledge in students, especially younger ones, next week. The project, code-named “Tech Farm League,” aims to bring large tech corporations to Columbia to teach students about their products.

The project organizers have already contacted major companies such as Apple, Adobe, Google, IBM and Sprint. The plan is to hold a talk from a different corporation every month that would last from three to four hours.

Each meeting would be an entry-level introduction into the program or technology developed by the company, said Keith Politte, one of the masterminds of the project. Students could go into the meeting knowing little about the software and leave with a solid grasp of how to use it.

The program would be open to all students, no matter which major they are pursuing or school they attend.

“We need more students with tech capabilities and we need them to start from a young age," Politte said. "The goal of this project is to expose students to the opportunities available with the help of technology and to fuel entrepreneurial startups. The hope is to meet once a month, effectively creating a perpetual app development boot camp.”

The goal of the project is to nurture students from a young age and shape them into technological gurus.

App development is becoming one of the quickest ways to generate revenue independently in the tech industry. According to Adwhirl, an iPhone advertising platform, free iPhone apps that break the top 100 make anywhere from $400 to $5,000 a day.

The "Tech Farm League" project can teach students how to use the Apple Software Development Kit or development kits for other platforms, which would create new opportunities for profit.

“Tech Farm League” is a working title for the project. The media company YAYA Connection is currently rebranding the program. The company is holding an online survey to gauge the response to a few names.

“We are reaching out to 16 to 24 year old to be as inclusive as possible," Journalism Futures Lab Advertising Editor Brad Best said.

YAYA Connection is a new marketing research firm within the strategic communication department.

"The students perform most of the research, analysis and presentation but they also will have the benefit of working with faculty experts in research methods," strategic communication associate professor Margaret Duffy said. "Mojo Ad, AdZou and YAYA Connection primarily benefit students by giving them real world experience—working with real clients in challenging and high pressure environments."

YAYA Connection is still looking for contributors for the survey, so those interested can find it online at this link. The project is looking for a name that resonates with youth.

There will be a public forum from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Tuesday at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

“Tuesday is when we are going to be taking inventory to see what groups are out there,” Politte said.

The project aims to be up and running as soon as this month.

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