It started with a dream.
School teacher Patrick McShane had a vision of creating an education center where K-12 students could engage with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects to enhance their learning and prepare themselves for a successful future. In 1988 McShane founded Pat’s Computer School, which he set up in the garage of his rural Idaho home. He worked tirelessly, creating hands-on projects to fuel a passion for education and an excitement about STEM subjects.
As the program gained notoriety in the community, it was rebranded as PCS Edventures and expanded, opening five experiential learning centers in Idaho, Washington, and California. Students were challenged to use critical thinking skills while learning robotics, engineering, archaeology, rocketry, music, electronics, biology, and more. Educators worked to establish a safe, team-oriented atmosphere that would inspire creativity and foster confidence.
In the late 1990s, evolving market conditions presented PCS with new opportunities. There was an explosion of afterschool programs nationwide including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the YMCAs, and other centers funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center federal initiative. These programs opened the door for PCS to package its products and offer easy-to-implement curriculum supplements and hands-on educational kits. PCS shifted its focus to selling these products and, as a result, these labs and materials are used in more than 7,000 sites across all 50 states and 17 other countries including Australia, India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Mexico.
In recent years, a global push for additional afterschool programs that focus on STEM concepts has reached new heights. Pulling from a unique depth of experience in operating learning centers, PCS seized the opportunity to re-enter the learning center industry with an expansion of PCS STEM centers nationwide. The rejuvenated PCS EdventuresLab program has shown rapid growth as educators connect with students in an atmosphere specifically designed to foster learning.
Twenty five years after its humble beginnings, PCS Edventures is still a leader in education technology. Some of the most recent cutting-edge work from PCS has come through the relationship with the interactive gaming genius of Curious Media. Founded by a former PCS student, Curious Media is now a world-class media company. The result of this partnership is the launch of some of the most exciting learning applications available today. Among those new innovations includes the release of two new products: a 3D interactive curriculum the 3DIC™ and an innovative programming environment, The Cortex ™. These tools are designed to teach students basic concepts in logic and reasoning as they develop skills in engineering, programming, robotics, and more.
Amid the rapid growth and expansion of the company, PCS has remained focused on the most important piece of the industry: students. The Girls Can Build ™ kit is a new product that encourages young women to develop an interest in engineering, science, and math. Every year, PCS continues to look for ways to empower K-12 students of every demographic to engage in the course of their education.
As PCS looks to the future, the methodology and philosophy from the first learning centers still serve as the main tenants of the company. With the continued goal of inspiring a passion for education, PCS is committed to reminding students that it all starts with a dream.