Tech Camp offers hands-on learning, technology opportunities

July 2, 2019

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Elaine Dworaczyk (left), looks on as Isaac Joern, Dworaczyk’s grandson and a rising second-grade student at Sampson Elementary School, puts together a circuit he put together using Circuit Scribe at Summer Tech Camp 2019, held over two weeks at Woodard Elementary School. The camp introduced attendees to various aspects of technology including programs such as WeVideo and Photoshop, and programmable Ozobots, Bee-Bots and Spheros.

July 2, 2019—More than 300 students attended Summer Tech Camp 2019, a two-week camp in its 15th year put on by the CFISD Instructional Technology Department. This year’s camp was held June 10-13 and 17-20 at Woodard Elementary School.

Camp attendees, who are going into the first-through-sixth grades, worked on different aspects of technology including programs such as WeVideo and Photoshop. Students were able to program and work with Ozobots, Bee-Bots and Spheros, while sessions like “Hands On Circuits” provided hands-on learning opportunities.

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Two Summer Tech Camp 2019 attendees program a robot to navigate through a maze. The session, “Speak like a Robot, Move like a Robot,” was among the numerous sessions offered during the two-week camp.

“They didn’t always know they were learning,” said Manny Curiel, CFISD Instructional Technology Specialist and a camp coordinator. “Then we’d have them create something and they were able to do it. Watching them realize they’re able to code, they’re able to make a video, and they’re able to use a green screen, change the background and stitch videos was so exciting.”

Camp ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with a conference-style format, allowing students the opportunities to sign up for and attend sessions of their choice. They rotated through multiple sessions during the day, using some of the same products they would likely see in their classrooms during the school year.

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Justin Patrick (center), a rising third-grade student at Danish Elementary School, shows his mother, Veronica Patrick (right), the Ozobot he programmed to follow a path during a session at Summer Tech Camp. The robots are coded to follow lines and read colors to determine speed, direction and other movements.

Curiel led a session on WeVideo, a web-based video editing platform that will be introduced district-wide for the 2019-2020 school year. He wanted to get an understanding of the procedures, possible hurdles and solutions teachers could eventually encounter while working with students.

“I wanted to experience what they are going to run into,” he said. “So for me, it was a learning experience…and I’ll be able to train them because I already experienced all of it.”

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Vanessa Du Bois (left) and Jay Du Bois (right) look on as their daughter, Sara, shows them and explains how she’s used Flipgrid and Google Drive during Summer Tech Camp. The event ended each week with a “Showcase” hour. Parents, family and friends were invited, and Sara, a fourth-grade Postma Elementary School student, joined other camp participants in leading guests to various sessions they attended.

A “Showcase” hour was held to close out each day, as parents, family and friends were invited to visit during the day’s final hour. Camp attendees led their guests on a tour of the sessions and showcased what they learned.

“I liked at Tech Camp there were the different sessions you could have and they were all so cool,” said Parker Wayne, a rising second-grade student at Kirk Elementary School who attended both weeks. “I liked SCRATCH (Savvy) where you program and make games and create.”

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