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Have You Ever Considered a Do-It-Yourself Summer Program?

By Mindy Hart

One of the ways to get kids interested in a topic is through extra-curricular opportunities. And Summer is a prime time for such activities. And a great time to introduce students to topics they may not get curricular exposure to such as computer science. Have you ever thought about running a computer science based day camp or workshop at your school or library during the summer?

I know many people think coordinating an event or program is a lot of work. And while that may be slightly true, here are some tips to make things easier on you.

1) Plan. It never hurts to have a plan- you can always change it, but at least it provides direction.
2) Know why you want to offer this program. Is it just to get kids interested in computing, is it to target an underrepresented population, or as way to earn extra income or funding for a school program?
3) Know your space limitations. Will you be in a school computer lab? How many stations do you have in your available space? Is it feasible for students to bring their own computers?
4) Decide who is going to be involved. Are you targeting a certain age group of students? And who is going to instruct the content? Do you need extra helpers?
5) Choose a time-frame that works for your school district. For example, could you coordinate it with summer school or offer it as a back to school enrichment program? And are full days or half days better in the summer?
6) Know what you are going to teach. Will it just be free programs such as Alice or Scratch that they can continue to use even after the program? Or is there something you would like to throw in as a teaser to get them interested in taking a course in your school later on?
7) The biggest tip is to figure out how it can best be done. Who do you need approval from? Is it going to be fee based? Do you need to have food for the participants? How will you advertise the program?

All in all, there may be a few extra details to work out, but these should get you well on your way to helping create a computer science literate population. And you might have some fun along the way too!

Mindy Hart
CSTA Board Member


We have been doing 4-hour computing workshops for students since 2005. See http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt/201 for descriptions of some of these events. Also see http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt/1091 for information on how to run a computing summer camp. We have been running computing summer camps since 2004 and have been training other collegs and universities in Georgia to run them since 2007.

NCWIT has a nice resource card at http://www.ncwit.org/resources.res.out.camp.html on this subject.

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