IBMers Build STEM Skills in One of Latin America's Fastest Growing Tech Economies
Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking economy in Latin America and has one of the region’s fastest growing tech industries. More than one-third of our population is under 25 years old, and we graduate over 120,000 engineers a year. VC activity is strong, with an increase of 61% in the number of deals over 2017.
My city of Guadalajara is known as the Mexican Silicon Valley for its rapidly increase and use of technology, solutions in the cloud, AI, and IoT. To continue growing, we have to invest in skills – early on. That’s where IBM saw an opportunity.
IBM Service Corps deployed 20 IBMers in the Guadalajara office to partner with local public high schools to help improve technology curriculum with IBM Cloud and TJBot Kits. IBM Service Corps is an innovative social impact program that develops IBM leaders, while contributing IBM talent and technology to local communities and non-profit organizations looking to tackle challenging problems.
In partnership with Fondo Unido-United Way Mexico, five public high schools were selected to participate:
- CECyTEJ SANTA MARGARITA
- CONALEP-Guadalajara I
- CONALEP – Juanacatlán
- CECyTEJ -El Salto
In six short weeks, the goal was to reach hundreds of teachers and students with new tech skills. We brought along TJBot, a friendly looking robot that comes to life thanks to IBM Cloud, open source technology and artificial intelligence. Our TJBot kits introduce robotics, cognitive and programming in a fun and interactive way.
When we met the teachers for the first time, they were excited about the entire project. Some of them had hopes, some of them had fears, but all of them were excited to learn new ways of teaching.
They got to build the TJBot and downloaded the software to program it. Also, they learned about APIs, how IBM Cloud works, and terms like open source, cloud computing, .Json, etc.
By the end of the sessions, they were thinking about how they can improve their classroom dynamics with robotics. Our next goal is to help them deliver the same workshop to their students.
We met with a wide range of teachers with varying levels of technological understanding, yet all contributed and participated enthusiastically. At the end of the project all will receive digital TJBot and IBM Cloud badges. Our hope is they will continue to teach their peers and more students with the donated kits.
As for our IBM team, we learned much from the experience and look forward to seeing Guadalajara continue growing its tech reach in Mexico and beyond!