We are passionate about introducing children of all ages to the wonders and benefits of the sciences and technology, and offer camps ranging from film to computers and robotics. Summer computer camps, film camps, robotics camps, cyber camps — we can help you find the summer camp that's right for your child.
Most of my life I have told people that I’m not a “coder.” This is partially because I don’t want the responsibility and eventual headache of figuring out a complex system on behalf of someone else and partially because I have never been efficient when attempting to code. I thought that my inefficiency was what kept me from really creating programs – but I’m starting to change my mind.
Programming is a difficult feat, but not as difficult as learning another language. Sure, different programming systems are referred to as “languages,” but they are still mostly in abbreviated English. And unlike other languages, there are not the same nuances to learn or pronunciations to memorize. Additionally, language is used mainly in real-time, wherein code is not. Few people code while the program is actually running, although I’m sure some folks attempt to!
Since code is not as time sensitive as language, non-linear experimentation is both possible and probably yields the best results. Imagine being a writer and taking different paragraphs out of context to make sure they work independently, regardless of where they appear in a novel. Coders are able to take a large and complex problem and break it down into individual elements. Each of these elements can then be tested independently (or somewhat independently) before being completely linked together.
I have a very Machiavellian coding style. I see the outcome as a distant goal and do anything I can to get there. That means I break standards and conduct all the time – sometimes writing ten lines where I can write one. I simply want something to work. A part of this is impatience. A part of this is, perhaps, the fear that if I don’t get there quickly I’m going to lose interest and never finish. So my source becomes very sloppy and quite embarrassing – although few people would even know that!
Lately, however, as I take another iOS class (programming for iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone) and review some of my Flash work, my ability to understand code, visualize and plan, and execute has started to shift. The process is no longer about simply getting something done – it’s about doing it the right way. I’ve been working off of wireframes and write-ups, instead of simply attacking a blank space with an idea. I’ve been paying attention to the process from a meta-view instead of simply solving tiny problems. And, most of all, I’ve been coding and coding in my spare time. It turns out that the most valuable way for me to become a better programmer is to program more often and not just every year or two.
The feeling is liberating, since I’ve avoided programming for so long that my own projects have suffered for lack of a true developer. I sit on design documents that have never been realized – but that’s changing every day. The barrier of entry is much smaller than I’ve been telling myself and others – and deep down, I think I’m happy to be a “coder.”
iD Tech Camps students in Tampa will discover how their passions and talents can ultimately develop into success in college and a future career.
This summer, Tampa area students ages 7-17 can experience an innovative mix of summer fun and technology education at iD Tech Camps, now hosted on the University of South Florida campus. Powered by internalDrive, iD Tech Camps is the national leader in summer technology education, and offers courses ranging from game design with Minecraft, Unreal® Development Kit, Portal™ 2, and RPG Maker®, to programming with Java, Scratch, and C++. The new University of South Florida summer camp site provides another opportunity for kids and teens to learn valuable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts in small-group environments with a maximum of eight students per instructor.
“We want to show students in Tampa how to expand on their technology skills and interests, so they will be ready to take on the booming technical job market,” says iD Tech Camps President and CEO Pete Ingram-Cauchi. “The University of South Florida campus is our third iD Tech Camps site in Florida—we also offer programs at Rollins College in Orlando, and University of Miami in Coral Gables.”
Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida is one of the nation’s top research universities. iD Tech Camps students will enjoy the close proximity of the dining hall to the computer labs and dorms—parents will appreciate a convenient drop-off/pick-up location. All facilities are air-conditioned, and students will dine on campus, with unlimited servings of home-style foods, grill items, pizzas, salads, and desserts. During fully-supervised breaks, students can visit the campus bookstore, or purchase snacks from the market next to the dining hall, which features Jamba Juice, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Ben & Jerry’s, and more.
The programs are fun yet challenging and prepare students to fill lucrative careers of the future. Occupations in STEM are projected to grow 17% over the next ten years (U.S. Department of Commerce), and many jobs may go unfilled if students aren’t equipped with enough technological know-how. Engaging kids and teens in technology from a young age can lead them toward STEM careers, as well as provide a competitive edge for college applications.
All iD Tech Camps programs are hosted on university campuses, giving students insight into the collegiate experience. Through project-based learning, students attending the University of South Florida site can learn to code Java, design games in Minecraft and develop 3D role-playing games. Students will leave camp with a final project they can be proud of, and knowledge they can carry into college and the workforce. By blending traditional summer camp with progressive technology education, iD Tech Camps at the University of Southern Florida will provide a productive balance of recreation and learning.
Every now and then I write about games (ok, probably most of the time) and I focus on a particular subject of critique or satire, all from a place of love. This passion for gaming stems from a lifetime of surprises, times when I learned that video games have a capacity to completely floor me. This is a horribly abridged list that’s insanely personal and it is very likely that I would have a different (and valid) list a week from now!
1. Super Mario Bros.
I grew up in a gaming household. We played games since I was able to pick up a controller or flip a card. My parents had several Atari consoles and eventually a Coleco, but the first landmark moment (besides the time I beat Pitfall 2) was in 1985 when my sister showed me an arcade version of the original Super Mario Bros. (yes, the one that was also released on the NES). It was the most colorful and interactive game I had ever seen – I was watching a cartoon! I know that’s difficult to believe in the modern era, but the moment I saw that screen, I truly believed that video games could be anything and transport you anywhere.
2. Doom 2
There was a time when all phones were wired and people actually had wired phone connections in their house. These phone connections could also be used for primitive (and slow) computer connectivity. Normally, this happened between only two computers (similar to a phone call) but there was enough power in the wire to create magic. My friend Jay and I would wait until late at night and play two-player Doom 2, an early horror-themed first-person shooter. I sat on the edge of my seat and would get absolutely lost in the world. The whole time I felt like Jay was sitting right with me, even though he was a couple miles away.
3. Grand Theft Auto 2
Games were always on rails – they had a fixed path. The games that got away from that were simulations, like Sim City or Sim Earth, not games that included exploring. And my favorite (admittedly embarrassing) game mechanic is exploration. Grand Theft Auto 2 gave me the opportunity to look around and just act. I had no interest in the missions or advancing any plots. I just wanted to look around and avoid actually playing for as long as I could. This freedom to create my own rules was eye-opening and became the guiding light for future game purchases.
I played every first person shooter up to Half-Life. They were all so different – and then Half-Life made them all feel exactly the same. The game dared to be a puzzle game and a complex narrative in contrast to so many games that relied on bigger and better guns. It was technically amazing and had an insanely addictive multiplayer component. I arrived at college as a freshman carrying a copy of the game and quickly it became the rage of my dorm. The game was clever and had the feel of a great movie and was unlike anything I had ever seen.
5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Jay and I were Tony Hawk addicts. He started, touting this skateboard game. I hadn’t played a skateboard game since “Skate or Die” and was not interested in the concept. After watching him for a few moments, I was immediately addicted. The idea of constant improvement and discovery was amazing. Tony Hawk 2 and the sequels, along with SSX Tricky and SSX 3, are probably my favorite sport-themed games. They are like freestyle Guitar Hero and tapped into a reward mechanism that absolutely resonated with me.
6. You Don’t Know Jack 4: The Ride
My family played all of the You Don’t Know Jack games. We always had them loaded up when company came and were delighted and challenged by Cookie (and others) and the style of this PC-based trivia game show. The audio clips were obviously the best part, but they got more and more sophisticated as the series progressed. By the time You Don’t Know 4: The Ride came around, the host would reference jokes he made questions ago and sometimes games ago with enough regularity that it seemed impossible. The game was able to tap into a magic that made that audience forget that the show wasn’t happening live.
7. Katamari Damacy
There’s a moment when playing Katamari Damacy the first time that you imagine the possibility of getting even bigger – big enough to roll up houses. You imagine it because the game hints at it, but you have no idea that you’ll ever get that big. And then, after hours of obsessive rolling, you’re picking up bridges, then skyscrapers, then islands. And you realize that there has never been a similar experience before. The scale play in Katamari was life changing. The humor and music and story of the game are wonderful, but the true value is taking a player from a world where pencils are huge to a place where clouds are small.
8. World of Warcraft
I played WoW when it was first released. My entire WoW experience happened before a single expansion pack – and now I think they’re on number three. So I was early to the party and wasn’t particularly good. Remember, my preference is exploration. WoW doesn’t really reward people that just walk around looking at stuff, instead of actually doing stuff. I played for a very long time before getting to level 30 and thought that the entire world was a single color scheme (mostly snowy and gray). Then one day, I remember going through a mountain or something and exiting into a jungle. I was really taken back. Here I was, thinking I understood the game and had seen a representative view of the map, when a whole new world opened up before me. I learned that there are several different biomes throughout the world and the whole scale of the place was truly amazing.
9. Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption is an astounding accomplishment. The game has a way of allowing an open world to feel free and serene while inserting moments of seamless missions and events. RDR feels huge and rewards players for choosing to mosey instead of simply blowing through missions. I was able to just explore and play in a world that made me into a cowboy and actually got me to enjoy a horse simulation.
10. Super Meat Boy
I chose Super Meat Boy over LittleBigPlanet only because I knew I would love LittleBigPlanet from the first moment I saw Sackboy. In fact, I was never blown away by the game only because my expectations very so very high. SMB, however, made me enjoy platformers on a whole new level. While LittleBigPlanet felt like a successor to Super Mario Bros, SMB turn platforming into a sport and an artform. Speed and accuracy became the focus of the game. I wasn’t satisfied without and A+, which meant I played every level scores of times, trying to solve for the absolutely perfect path. SMB is a game about speed runs and is secretly a puzzle game for obsessive gamers that don’t mind punishing their hands and reflexes.
Ok, I know. I left off all of my beloved simulations (but I write about those all the time) and what about Minecraft? No love for Journey either? As noted, this list is personal and changes daily depending on my mood. There was a time when the entire list would be from the Sierra Online catalogue – King’s Quest V and the entire Quest for Glory series come to mind. Then there was the Imagination Network… but I digress.
What games blew your mind? Grand Turismo? Shadow of the Colossus? The Legend of Zelda? Let me know in the comments!
While some children and teens prefer to while away their summer days with play and sun, others can’t wait to challenge themselves, creating video games, performing experiments in science laboratories, building robots with interconnecting blocks, exploring marine life or inventing new contraptions from old parts.
Those seeking activities in science, technology, engineering and math during the summer will have ample opportunities in the Cleveland area, where camps in STEM subjects abound. Not only will they enjoy and learn from the activities, but they could also be giving themselves an edge once school starts. Click here to read the full article.
STEM-focused program gives kids a taste of game development
By Seth Tipps
Organizers have revealed the game development camp for teens, iD Gaming Academy, will get a new location at the University of Washington this year.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based educational program teaches students aged 13-18 about game development, giving them hands-on development experience with industry tools like Unreal Development Kit, XNA Game Studio, Unity, and Autodesk Maya.
The two-week camp is taught at nine different University locations throughout the country, including Harvard and Stanford.
Students lodge overnight and in addition to learning about the many different fields within the game industry, tour studios, interact with industry professionals, and get tips on landing a job in game development. Click here to read the full article.
The number of summer camps geared toward video game development has doubled since 2012, according to one video game research and advocacy group.
By Jared Morgan
April 23, 2013
If you’re looking to supplement your child’s exposure to STEM education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, then why not enroll them in iD Tech Camps?
The camp starts in July, but space fills quickly, according to organizers. iD Tech Camp will be held on the UCLA campus and features computer programming workshops and mobile app development.
STEM education is important because there will be more than one million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018, said Brandon Peeples, iD Tech camp director.
“By the end of a week, our students create iPhone and Android apps, video games, websites, 3D animations with Autodesk Maya, and more which inspire them to continue learning, get internships, start businesses, write books, and do other impressive things,” said Peeples. “It’s truly life changing.”
Leader in summer STEM education unites technology and ecology with “One Camper, One Tree” initiative.
Campbell, CA—Earth Day is upon us, landing in the midst of the registration season for the leader in summer technology camps, internalDrive, Inc. The company runs iD Tech Camps and iD Teen Academies, summer programs focused on developing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills for kids and teens.
Students who register this summer at an internalDrive program will not only build cool projects and develop new tech skills—they will simultaneously impact the environment in a positive way. The initiative, dubbed One Camper, One Tree, plants a tree for every camper who enrolls for camp. Now in its 4th year, the initiative has successfully planted over 75,000 trees—and will plant close to 30,000 trees in 2013 alone.
“I always hear about companies who want to help the environment. But few actually step up in a big way. We’re doing something meaningful. Over the long term, we want to plant 1 million trees. We’re committed to it. It shows our students that the world’s ecosystem is important. We want to be good role models for our students. If our company doesn’t commit to the environment, who will?” said Pete Ingram-Cauchi, CEO of internalDrive.
This will be the 15th season for iD Tech Camps, offering courses to ages 7-17 in programming, app development, web design, game design, 3D modeling & animation, robotics, film, and photography. Ages 13-18 can enroll in intensive, pre-college iD Teen Academies including iD Programming Academy, iD Gaming Academy, and iD Visual Arts Academy. Held at over 60 university campuses including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, the summer programs show students how their passions can turn into STEM careers. Programs offer a taste of college life and teach vital 21st century critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.
Last summer, students enrolled in the Autodesk® Maya® – 3D Modeling & Animation course created fifteen second videos demonstrating the negative environmental effects of littering, polluting, and smoking. The curriculum focused on blending technology learning with environmental activism.
The One Camper, One Tree initiative is one of numerous manifestations of what the company calls iD Greening. Students are encouraged to conserve energy by turning off computers and monitors when not in use. Recycling is promoted at all program sites, and parents can use a carpool app to share rides to and from their programs—saving gas. This summer, they’ll be able to check-in and check-out each day via a newly-created app to reduce paper consumption.
In a fast-paced, high-tech setting, positive environmental practices can get lost in the shuffle. For internalDrive, however, being “green,” is not a side-note or an afterthought—it’s a fundamental principle the company has lived by since its 1999 inception. By maintaining a balance between technology and ecology, the summer program strives to be a positive model of environmental conscientiousness for students and parents.
“We want our students to pursue their passions and develop skills to help them succeed in future STEM careers,” explains internalDrive President and CEO Pete Ingram-Cauchi. “We also need to ensure they have a healthy, green world to live in, because they can’t realize their dreams if the environment around them is falling apart.”
Enrollment has risen significantly this year, due to an increasing demand for technology education. Thousands more students will hone their tech skills this summer, and thousands of trees will be planted as a result. Through the partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, internalDrive demonstrates its commitment to the future of the planet, and the future success of their students. Now we can all breathe a little more easily.
Educational group iD Tech Camps is using the block-building sandbox Minecraft and other games to teach children about science, technology, education, and math (STEM). The organization holds its camps over the summer at nearly 60 universities around the country.
“This is our 15th season,” iD Tech vice president of marketing and business development Karen Thurm Safran told GamesBeat. “We’ve been offering video game courses from the start. We look for products that are interesting — that’ll appeal to kids — because we want to show them how they can take a hobby like video gaming and turn it into a lucrative STEM career.”
STEM summer camps
The company uses developer Mojang’s Minecraft to introduce many basic and advanced concepts to the students in four courses. The subjects cover ideas like basic game design for ages 9 to 12 as well as programming for ages 13 to 18.
Courses come in two flavors, one-week camps and two-week “academies,” but just because the camps are only a few days long doesn’t mean they won’t cover heavy subjects. One of the week-long courses, Minecraft – Game Modding & Java Coding, requires that its teen attendees already have a “solid understanding of programming languages such as Java, C++, or PHP.”
“Most kids play Minecraft, and so they’re very excited to go in and modify it,” said Safran. “So Minecraft has actually expanded the market. It takes kids who would never think about programming — and since we offer four different Minecraft courses — we can get them at different angles depending on if they have programming experience or depending on their age.”
While Minecraft’s appeal is helping id Tech grow, the company has always worked with games. It also offers courses that utilize popular titles like Portal 2, Trackmania, and Shootmania. Some advanced courses teach directly in Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit.
A bait and switch
Video games are just the bait, according to one of the program’s graduates.
“The iD Tech camps opened my eyes to possible careers in games,” former game developer Mark Grim told GamesBeat. “It was 2002 when I did the camp. I went for a multimedia game-creation week-long class. I was always interested in video games so I was curious what it was to make a video game, but I didn’t have any idea what it was like.”
Grimm knows he benefited from seeing behind the curtain at such a young age.
“It was really meaningful for me to see that [game development] wasn’t this big, nebulous industry,” said Grim. “It’s actually very approachable, technical, and interesting. From that point forward, I always had my eye on a career in video games or software development.”
Grimm was in between his junior and senior year of high school when he attended the class. He says that iD Tech helped him decide what to study when he eventually went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. At MIT, he learned more about game development and eventually got a job working at Rock Band developer Harmonix Music Systems. He has since left that studio to pursue a business degree at Boston University.
When it comes to Minecraft, it’s all about how much it appeals to kids that might not even know they can make games.
“If there’s a kid out there playing Minecraft, he might check out the camps because there’s a Minecraft class,” he said. “I don’t think that kid would have come before id Tech integrated Minecraft into the curriculum.”
Meanwhile, in Stockholm
Notch is only 33 years old. He grew up playing games that inspired him.
I asked the developers at Mojang how it feels to know that young kids are finding the same inspiration in Minecraft that they found in the games of their childhood.
“It’s a humbling experience to be part of a game that is helping define a new generation of programmers and developers,” Mojang spokesperson Lydia Winters told GamesBeat. “At Minecon, [our annual convention], it’s incredible to see youth looking up to Minecraft programmers and wanting to learn coding themselves.”
Winters thinks that Minecraft makes such a useful tool for education simply because it is so open but simple.
“Teachers are able to use it to teach complex concepts through something students already enjoy,” she said. “As a former teacher, I wish I could have used Minecraft in my own classroom to engage my students in learning about a variety of subjects.”
More parents are looking for ways to teach their kids to understand technology. It’s a difficult thing to do because so few grownups understand coding. That’s why parents are delighted to send their kids to “play” with games for a week because the kids might come back with a passion for software development.
“Statistics show that in the next decade there will be over 800,000 unfilled STEM jobs,” said Safran. “Today’s kids are not training in college for those fields, so this is a real lucrative industry to get into. Plus, kids will be doing something that they love.”
I loved going to woodsy summer camps with canoeing and whittling when I was young, but I probably would have loved a gaming camp even more. Coming out of it with a taste for technology and programming would have been a major bonus.