Something happened less than a week ago…Well, who am I kidding, a lot of things have happened.
We don’t have to recount the full genesis, but let’s start at the “schools across the world have closed their doors” part. Major, major events have been canceled. And, most tangible to all of us now, families across the world have been forced to take caution and keep themselves indoors, more or less.
It all happened so fast.
Just as quickly, the importance of encouraging students to keep learning shot to the surface. No school, no teachers, no homework, no tests. It might sound like a dream come true for some students, but for others, and us parents, we know all of this also meant no learning, no socialization; no personal growth.
So, we moved fast too, working around the clock - literally - to put together solutions to help your family right now.
One piece of that includes continuing to offer Online Private Lessons (as we have for years), but with a new helpful perk of allowing your child to bring a sibling (or friend) to their sessions for free.
The other piece, though, was imagining an innovative offering; a new twist on our popular on-campus summer programs.
“No learning, no socialization.”
We knew without school, students would be missing out not only on skill-building, but relationship building, so we got to work, knowing that our new Virtual Tech Camps needed to offer both—structured, weeklong sessions in relevant tech curriculum, AND the vital social component of students being able to learn alongside others.
Well, we did it. And now, right now, students are in the midst of reclaiming their learning and social time.
Virtual Tech Camps in action
“Brainteasers,” “engagement,” “students losing their minds with laughter.”
In what could have easily been a description plucked from a student evaluation of one of our summer programs, these were the words used to describe the situation unfolding at a Virtual Tech Camps session just this morning.
Yes, our first week of Virtual Tech Camps is already running; and this single screen captured photo above tells a pretty good story of the potential new normal.
Smiles on the faces of students making new friends with peers from around the world. From New Zealand to Spain, New York to Hawaii, kids and teens are coming together to share an interest and/or love of coding, game development, creative arts, and other relevant tech subjects.
Small groups of no more than 5 students to a class. To put that ratio in context, many of the schools that have made the transition to online learning are hosting Zoom classes of up to 20 students or more.
Campers who want to “camp.” It’s a term we hold near and dear, so even though we can’t all go outside for a crazy game of kickball, there is still silliness to be had.
Why? Because in order to stick, learning needs to be interactive and fun. That holds true and then some in the virtual classroom.
Beyond those components, what’s going on behind the scenes?
Our Virtual Tech Camp instructors are the best of the best; seasoned professionals boasting impressive tech resumes. We sum this piece up by saying “they hire who we hire,” with “they” being world-renowned companies like Google, EA, Tesla, and Disney.
4 hours of structured learning every single day, with 2 hours of hands-on live learning, and 2 hours of self-guided practice as students work their way towards completed projects and official iD course transcripts.
Positive feedback from many grateful parents who now have the means to keep their students’ brains sharp, and relevant skill-building on the up and up. For instance:
“Thanks to iD Tech for helping out us parents and kids at home during this Coronavirus crisis! My daughter LOVES her virtual class! This is incredible!”
-Chant’l M. via Facebook
Certainty in a time of uncertainty
I heard something really cool today from one of our amazing Camp Specialists: “Virtual Tech Camps are the perfect learning option for those who are currently battling a fear of the uncertain.”
Are kids going to return to school this year? There is just no way of knowing. There are a lot of unknowns; for all of us.
In any event, though, Virtual Tech Camps (and Online Private Lessons) will be here. The relationship-building. The structured learning. But just as important, the “students losing their minds with laughter.”
It is all here now, and will continue to be here tomorrow and for months to come as we all navigate this changing educational landscape together.