Students host 4-day tech camp for middle-schoolers

Students host 4-day tech camp for middle-schoolers
Posted on 06/04/2018
Students host 4-day tech camp for middle-schoolersThe students become the instructors in the Northeast Tech EAST Program when, during the first few days of summer break, they hosted a four-day technology camp for local middle school students.

“We wanted to give younger kids an early understand of what CareerTech learning is, EAST in particular,” said Chelsea student Zach Abbott. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what we do and it's hard to explain in five minute tours.”

The Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) program at Northeast Tech’s Claremore Campus is a unique program that uses project-based learning to train students for technology careers. But because that description – and even the program name – does little to explain what actually happens inside the classroom, a group of students decided to tackle that challenge with a creative project.

“My first impression when touring as a sophomore was that this was a computer class where they give you a book to teach you the program,” said Verdigris student Tanner Hess. “I was completely wrong. EAST is all self-directed learning, and because we do so much community work, we’re forced to learn different skills to meet client needs.”

Concerned that some students may be missing out on what the EAST program has to offer, Abbott and Hess, along with their classmates Zane Geoffry and Austin Dick, decided to create an event to specifically bridge that knowledge gap.

“We came up with the idea of hosting an all-day camp where we can teach middle school students some of the programs and technology we use in EAST,” Hess said. “We will get them acquainted with the basic tools we use in this program, and let them have hands-on experience with the technology.”

Originally scheduled for mid-May, the camp had to be rescheduled when school calendars were extended due to the teacher walk-out. The change of plans did not seem to impact attendance at the camp, however, and 12 of the 15 middle school students who registered were present on the first day of EAST Tech Camp.

After introductions and an overview of the schedule, the campers jumped right in to their first tutorial of a 3D modeling software called Tinker Cad. Meghan Matthews of Oologah, is a former EAST graduate who volunteered to help with the camp.

“The Tinker Cad program is a basic introduction to the higher level programs used in design, animation and even machining,” Matthews said. “It crosses over well with architectural software too It’s the same basic concept.”

After completing the tutorial lessons, campers were able to design personalized key chains and print them on one of several 3D printers available in the classroom.
For Emily Rainwater from Inola, this was her first experience with the 3D software.

“I think it's pretty cool,” Rainwater said. “The school counselor told me about it, and she told me I could sign up, and my sister too.”

Tinker Cad was just one of the programs introduced to the middle schoolers during the camp, and other software included in the tutorials were Lightroom, Photoshop, Garage Band along with basic coding.

The campers are still a few years away from being old enough to enroll in the EAST Program, which is open to Rogers County students beginning their sophomore year, but the EAST students who hosted the camp are hopeful some seeds of interest have been planted.

“I think this is a good way to introduce the program, because these kids can go tell their friends and share what they got to do,” Matthews said. “It would have been helpful to me when I started the program, because I got accepted into two programs, and this would have made my decision to choose EAST even easier.”
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