A Texas-based technology education company has branched out into Vienna.
The school iCode launched its first Virginia franchise in the town earlier this month and is now hosting camps on game building, robotics and other tech skills for students out on break for the winter.
Located in a former Apple Federal Credit Union at 419A Maple Avenue East, iCode Vienna will get a grand opening at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 10.
“As parents living and working in Fairfax County, we saw a need to provide our children earlier exposure to technical education,” franchise co-owner David Dilly said in a statement. “…We realize children love gaming, so why not provide a positive outlet for their desires by learning to understand how their favorite games work?”
Founded in 2015 by Abid Abedi, iCode has close to 50 franchises around the U.S., along with two in Asia. All of the locations follow a curriculum developed by the company’s corporate office in Frisco, Texas.
The Vienna campus is the first of several planned for Virginia, specifically in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Next up, a school in Burke will open in spring 2023, according to Dilly.
In addition to camps, the school offers three tiers of programs, from one designed for flexibility where students build their own video game to classes focused on specific science, technology, engineering and math topics.
The most popular is a “Belt” program, which is intended to provide a “comprehensive” education in STEM subjects and the arts, iCode Vienna Director Toni Escobedo says. Covering ages 5 through 15, the program teaches a total of seven programming languages with each course building on the previous one.
Escobedo says iCode tailors its class and camp offerings to students’ interests, grouping classes based on age and skill level. The school is equipped with tablets, desktops, drones, robotics, 3D printers, an e-sports gaming lounge and more, with no outside technology needed.
She says the school distinguishes itself from other coding programs by emphasizing the full-time involvement of instructors in all classes and incorporating “soft skills” like project management and collaboration into the curriculum.
“These skills help students succeed not only academically but in their relationships and future careers,” she told FFXnow.
A nearly 40,000-square-foot space center is coming soon to Reston.
The project is the brainchild of Interstellar Dreams, a nonprofit organization by Robin McDougal, a former educator at Fairfax County Public Schools.
The organization hopes to “spark and nurture the next generation of STEM leaders with a focus on aerospace,” according to event organizers. The business also plans to open its first space center location at George Mason University’s College of Science.
The centers will include training and simulations through virtual and in-person methods created by LED walls and technology. The experience is intended to prepare emerging and existing professionals to meet the demand for space workers.
A press conference is planned on Monday (Aug. 29) at 8:45 a.m., following a public viewing of NASA’s launch of the Artemis I “Return to the Moon” mission at Reston Station.
The space agency is poised to launch its most powerful rocket ever for a test flight on a 42-day voyage around the moon. The launch begins at 8 a.m., and the viewing takes place in the plaza of Reston Station (1906 Reston Metro Plaza).
“As NASA prepares to send astronauts to the moon and beyond, Interstellar Dream’s event underscores the need for talent for the booming space exploration industry,” a spokesperson for Interstellar Dreams wrote in the statement.
A spokesperson for the company told FFXnow that more details about the center will be released after the viewing event.
“This region has a lot of space business [and] is ripe for having more emphasis on training a workforce,” the spokesperson said.
The event will be attended by Vint Cerf — one of the “fathers of the internet” — as well as Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, and other local officials. Cerf will discuss the need for an inter-galaxy internet.