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Myth-Busting the "Computer Camp"

Computer Camp Myths

I hope you have a firm grasp on your hats, and that your socks aren’t easily knocked off. Because today, we truly have something special on the docket.

Have you ever thought of what you’d do if you came face to face with Bigfoot, swam next to Nessie, or dare I say, set sights on the high beams of a UFO? These are a few of the world’s most perplexing unknowns. With them, some people have convictions; others have their doubts.

Well today my friends, I have answers.

But no, not about hairy beasts or horses with one horn. I’m talking about the wily, misunderstood computer camp.

Even though the computer camp has been seen and even experienced in its natural habitat by hundreds of thousands of kids and teens around the world, its existence and purpose still serves as one of life’s a greatest mysteries. Such unfamiliarity has led to preposterous myths; strong lies that I simply cannot go another day withstanding.

MYTH: Computer camp is “computer camp.”

False. Confusing, but false. Computer camp, as it is popularly known, actually usually refers to “tech camp,” or its more formal name, “technology camp.” Hence, you don’t go to computer camp to learn “computers.” You go to tech camp to learn about all things technology: programming, video game design, robotics, app development, and more. For sake of clarity, I’ll continue using “computer camp” for the rest of the post, but don’t let it throw you off track.

MYTH: Computer camp kids stay inside…all, day, long.

False. Computer camp kids can actually enjoy a well-balanced experience; one that affords both on-screen time working towards the completion of a final project, along with outdoor, traditional summer camp activities. Exhibit A:

 

 

MYTH: Computer camp is for “geeks.”

Completely false. Computer camp is for anyone with an interest in anything, ever.

Yes, that’s right. While computer camp might not be the perfect fit for everyone, the far-reaching ability of STEM means that most interests, from sports to the arts, and even monster trucks and beyond can all be taught, learned, and enhanced with technology.

Plus…”Geek?” What does that even mean anymore? Point is that computer camp is for anyone who cares to learn something of value during the summer.

MYTH: Computer camp is for boys…and boys only.

False. See above. Sure, if you ask a group of boys, and then a group of girls if they have an interest in programming, you’ll probably get more boys chiming in with input.

But, there are a couple of reasons why the exercise is meaningless. One, computer camp isn’t only about programming (AND programming is much different than what most people understand it to be). And two, asking your child up front if they have an interest in programming might not be the best first step. Instead, the alternative approach of asking what a child’s interests are, and then applying how programming or STEM in general can be attached to those interests, there might be more buy-in. From there, it simply comes down to finding a summer course that will help students reach their goals.

 

Boys-and-Girls

MYTH: Computer camp is like school, but in the summer.

False. Again. Do school classrooms buzz with excitement, collaboration, and a volume of laughter that borders on being “too” loud? At times, but not usually. Do school students get to mod with Minecraft or build their own iPhone apps? Again, not usually. No textbooks (only learning engines like iD Game Plan), no “teachers” (only tech-savvy instructors), and definitely no homework (only a personally-built project to take home at the end of each session, along with the skills/determination to continue learning after summer ends).

MYTH: Computer camp is for kids equipped with Bill Gates-level skills.

False. Computer camp is for beginners and advanced learners, with courses that cater to the full spectrum of skills. Plus, at the end of the day, we are still talking about camp (fun, friends, sunshine—things that everyone can enjoy). First-time computer campers can learn just as much as camp veterans.

Remember, it’s camp, not school. You can choose whatever course you want, and even take the same course again and again (while learning new things, mind you).

MYTH: Computer camp is boring; one dimensional.

False. IF computer camp was only a “computer camp,” was only for boy geniuses, and was simply an extension of normal, everyday education, then you might be on to something. But, as you’ve been reading, it’s different. We are talking about an experience far from any of that.

 

Coding Camps at iD Tech

 

Hopefully with my myth-busting I’ve helped shape skepticism and turn doubters into computer camp believers. If you still have reservations regarding what computer camp might or might not be, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

  • Awesome article Ryan. I need to get my son into computer camp this Summer in San Diego. I can’t get him off his tech devices as it is, may as well embrace his interest!