Making South Jersey the next Silicon Valley

Ren Parikh, Director at Ideal Institute of Technology has a vision – a broad, sweeping vision. It includes bringing a technology-driven economic engine to southern New Jersey to make it the next Silicon Valley.

Where does one begin to make that happen and is it even possible? Ren Parikh emphatically says, ‘Yes!” He recently introduced Ideal Institute of Technology’s STEM Initiative to train grades K-12 in engineering, robotics, science, technology and mathematics, one student at a time.

Ideal Institute of Technology has come a long way since its doors opened in January, 2016. The school was established to provide hands-on technology training, educational opportunities and job placement assistance to the underemployed and unemployed in Atlantic City and the surrounding areas. Within the past few months, a Technothon was introduced to the community and most recently, a Matharon. Several Technothon Fundraisers were held in 2017, including in Atlantic City and Pleasantville.

Skilled technicians from Ideal Institute were on hand to diagnose and repair any broken iPhone, tablet, laptop and computer. As a service to the community, rates were kept at a reasonable rate. IPhone screen replacement costs $30 plus parts cost. Computer repair and tune-up is $50 and website design costs start at $100.

With the success of a few Technothon fundraisers, attention was turned toward the Matharon. The inaugural Matharon was hosted by Pleasantville High School last December, where approximately twelve students volunteered to attend a workshop to learn a new method that uses simple math techniques to calculate any combination of numbers in a matter of seconds.

Throughout the 10-hour workshop, the student participants became proficient, confident and comfortable in calculating multiplication tables without a calculator or rote memorization. The initiative is described as a new method of using brain power, which allows students to make calculations in seconds; increase mental capabilities; build confidence in math; overcome dislike and fear of math; and reduce finger counting.

The administration and staff of the host school, Pleasantville High, were equally as pleased and enthused with the results of the Matharon. The vice-principal of the high school, Constance Chapman-Days, observed, “The kids had a great time and were full of excitement about learning new multiplication solving strategies and participating in Matharon.”

On day five of the Matharon, Pleasantville High School hosted a Matharon assembly in which the students competed against several staff members using calculators. All math classes were invited to the assembly. During the Matharon, any combination of numbers was announced for calculation to both groups. The excitement and anticipation of the students was evident in their faces as they mentally calculated the answer while the staff plugged numbers in their calculators. The winner hands down …the students! Brain power triumphed!

As a result of the success of the Matharon, Ideal Institute will be hosting additional workshops, after-school programs and summer camps in engineering, robotics, science, technology and mathematics in the coming months. Ideal Institute of Technology plans to incorporate its new initiatives into the STEM program, which is available to schools and organizations.

It is the goal of Ideal Institute of Technology to develop an IT workforce and champion South Jersey as the next Silicon Valley. We are well on the way to incorporating our new initiatives such as Matharon and Technothon into the fast-growing STEM Education Culture in southern New Jersey.

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