MOUSE recently marked its 15th anniversary with a celebration in New York City. I covered the event for EdSurge.
It would be easy to group MOUSE with the recent crop of programming nonprofits. The organizations share a lot of goals, including bridging the digital divide, training our future workforce and helping young people develop confidence and other personal qualities. I found that MOUSE favors a more human-centered learning style than most programming outreach groups, though.
MOUSE Corps, MOUSE’s afterschool program for high schoolers, functions almost like a youth version of IDEO or frog design. Members (who must apply to the program) spend a year developing socially-conscious tech projects via a hands-on, anthropological process.
MOUSE Corps is small and New York-only right now. MOUSE’s other program, MOUSE Squad, is more established and better known. MOUSE Squad is intriguing in its own way. It teaches middle and high schoolers to be the tech experts in their schools. They can act as their school’s IT helpdesk or assist professional IT staff. Squad members can also learn robotics, 3D printing and game design through MOUSE’s online curricula.
This is where MOUSE stands now. Next, it wants to expand far beyond its current strongholds in New York City, California and Chicago. Dramatic growth could be tough since other tech-centric youth development nonprofits have started courting school support and corporate donations. But kudos to MOUSE for what it’s achieved in its first 15 years.