This summer, I was given the opportunity to work as an Instructor at one of the iD Tech Camps across the country. I was incredibly excited for this job, for I felt that it would be my chance to make implement my ideas and beliefs onto the younger generation. I was about to use my job as my platform to inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers.
The job lasted me about two months and gave me the opportunity to stimulate the interest of technology in students, both male and female, of ages 7-16 by assisting them in creating fun and unique personal projects that can be finished within one week. I created lesson plans and planned engaging activities for groups of eight students to learn about computers, coding, and game design while contributing to a positive and collaborative camp environment. I also developed the ability to improvise and come up with ideas and activities on the spot with other staff members to make the technology camp fun.
I remember during my first week, I was given a roster of eight students. Out of the eight students, there were only two girls. I was surprised, yet not surprised at the same time. I was surprised to see that I even had girls on my roster, yet not surprised because there was so few girls attending. During my first week, there were probably about ten girls out of 64 campers on campus. Week by week, I noticed that the amount of girls attending camp had dropped. There were times when the numbers went up, but there were no more than fifteen girls total at camp. There were times when I was the only female in the room, because all of the other instructors were male, and all of our students were male.
I learned that these campers, both male and female, came to camp for one of these two reasons:
- They have a genuine interest in playing games, coding, and technology, and they have probably attending this camp in the past.
- Their parents forced them to go.
I felt that with this information, I had the responsibility of getting rid of the second reason, or at least show the kids who were forced to go to camp how technology is fun and exciting. I made an effort to create fun lesson plans for the kids to understand basic logic of coding. I showed them how important it is to practice math in order to understand booleans, to recognize sequence of events and apply them to blocks of codes of if-else statements. In addition, I taught them the qualities of a good programmer by teaching them how to be patient when debugging, helping each other debug, planning their ideas on paper and breaking up their project into smaller tasks, and overall, working together in a team setting as if they were working on a huge programming assignment together.
There was only so much time that I had with these eight kids that I could not teach them everything about the field of technology. However, I knew I did my job when I saw their excited faces present their mini projects to their parents on Friday. They were able to show off their projects, both successful and unsuccessful, talked about their planning process, as well as the concepts of coding that they learned. It made me realize how important it is for camps such as iD Tech to exist. iD Tech Camps promotes the fun in learning, mentor ship from instructors such as myself, as well as the mutual growing interest in technology between the campers and instructors.
Note: Although the pictures (except for the header image) are posted on the iD Tech Summer Photos website, I tried to pick pictures that did not reveal the children’s faces due to consent issues, hence, the lack of photos for this blog post.