Integrated Technology Summer Camp Builds Student Knowledge and Confidence
- Integrated Technology Summer CampBoys and girls from Bellevue-area middle schools attended a week-long day camp and got a glimpse of the possibilities a technology career has to offer.
- Integrated Technology Summer CampOn the last day of camp, the heard from a panel of technology professionals and had an opportunity to ask questions.
- Integrated Technology Summer CampThe week-long day camp was held in Bellevue University's Harper Family Foundation Integrated Technologies Lab.
- Integrated Technology Summer CampYouth attending the camp divided into teams and learned how to build working telegraph circuits and communicate via Morse code.
- Integrated Technology Summer CampThe day camp was a collaborative effort involving Bellevue University's College of Science and Technology (CST) and the Omaha-based AIM Institute.
- Integrated Technology Summer CampThe camp included lessons in teamwork, collaboration, as well as fun and games.
Twelve Bellevue-area middle school students gained a lot more than hands-on experience and rudimentary knowledge of basic electricity, coding, and integrated digital devices during an Integrated Technology Summer Camp on the Bellevue University campus in late July. The six girls and six boys attending the week-long day camp also got a glimpse of the rewarding career possibilities a technology career has to offer.
The camp, which also included lessons in teamwork and collaboration along with some fun and games, was a collaborative effort assembled by Bellevue University’s College of Science and Technology (CST) and the Omaha-based non-profit AIM Institute. The tech-savvy AIM team members who recruited the students and assisted with the program exemplify AIM’s mission to grow a strong and diverse technology community through education, career development and outreach.
The camp included tech-oriented lessons designed to educate, inspire, and entertain the students with hands-on activities, according to Emiliano “Emil” Montemayor, Integrated Technologies Faculty Assistant, who designed and built the curriculum and presented most of the labs, held in morning and afternoon sessions with a mid-day break for lunch.
The campers spent the week in the University’s new Harper Family Foundation Integrated Technologies Lab. There, they learned tech-oriented lessons designed to educate, inspire, and entertain the students with hands-on activities, according to Emil Montemayor, Faculty Assistant for the lab. Some of the highlights from the week were as follows:
Monday – Montemayor and AIM staff members Brett Berkebile, Outreach Coordinator, and Staci Wise, Director, Access Programs, divided the campers into six two-person teams and each team built a working telegraph circuit. Then, the teams competed to see which team could communicate a simple five-word message first.
Tuesday – Day two covered the basics of block computer programming using the “Minecraft Education Edition” of the popular Minecraft gaming software. This was followed by a team competitions involving nine coding challenges. “They lost their minds when I told them we were going to launch Minecraft,” Montemayor said.
Wednesday & Thursday – Days three and four covered integrated systems concepts and programming, and hands-on application of integrated technologies, such digital temperature, humidity and water sensors and LCD screens to display data used in automated gardening and greenhouse systems.
“We had a great moment before we went into actually building the system,” Montemayor said. “I showed them a video of an automated recording system made by a YouTuber, who has an engineering channel. After the 10-minute video, I said, ‘Okay, now we’re going to build this.’ They were all like, ‘No way! That sounds impossible…How are we going to do that?’”
On Thursday afternoon, the students toured the University’s new Environmental Sustainability Learning Lab and Greenhouse facility to see integrated systems applied in a real-world setting. Included was a guided tour of the greenhouse conducted by Dr. John Kyndt, CST Associate Professor of Microbiology, Nutrition and Sustainability.
Friday – On day five, the campers finished their projects and attended a four-member panel discussion and Q & A session with University faculty and IT staff and Dr. Mary Dobransky, CST Dean and longtime member of the AIM Institute Board of Directors. “During the panel, we discussed the misconception that only geniuses can do this type of stuff, but the students had built the little working integrated technology systems. That was a great moment,” Montemayor said. “The panelists talked about how they’d ended up in the positions they are in. Almost none of them started off in technology.” – 581 words
By Friday afternoon, each of the students said they’d grown in their subject knowledge and skills and gained confidence they could accomplish things they would have thought impossible the previous Monday morning, when the session topic was “Basics of Electrical Circuits.”
“During the panel, we discussed the misconception that only geniuses can do this type of stuff. We reminded the students that they had built real working integrated technology systems. That was a great moment,” Montemayor said. “The panelists talked about how they’d ended up in the positions they are in. Almost none of them started off in technology.”