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Georgia Summer Camps Reveal Student Preferences

Summer is my busiest time of year. We run teacher workshops and summer camps for middle and high school students. We began with two weeks of camp for high school students in 2004. Last year we added two weeks of camp for middle school students. This year we expanded the program to five weeks of camps for middle school students and three weeks of camps for high school students. We ran two weeks of middle school camps using Scratch and PicoCrickets and two weeks of middle school camps using LEGO NXT robots and Alice. We ran one week for middle school students on RoboCup Jr. and some teams went on to participate in the international RoboCup Jr competition at Georgia Tech.

For high school students we did two weeks of Alice, LEGO NXT robots, and Media Computation in Python. We also did one week for high school students for RoboCup Jr using LEGO NXT robots (dance and rescue).

One interesting result is that many middle school students really liked Scratch and many high school students really liked Media Computation in Python. Many students preferred these free items over the expensive robot kits from LEGO and Pico. One boy had his mother come up and take a picture with his image collage displayed behind him that he created using Media Computation. See this collage at http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt/567 (3rd from the top).

So, it is fairly easy for a high school teacher to offer computing summer camps for middle and high school students with Scratch, Media Computation in Python, and perhaps Alice and make some extra money in the summer and hopefully increase the quatity and diversity of kids in your computing classes! You could even make enough to buy some robot kits. The kids liked the RoboCup Jr. camp, too. I would like to do a Southeastern regional competition every year for this.

See http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt/475 for more information on our summer camps and a zip about how to start a summer camp and some curricular materials.

Barb Ericson
CSTA Board of Directors

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