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Kent State RCET introduces tech to young minds

Words by Ashton Vogelhuber
Photos submittedby Annette Kratcoski

 

The AT&T Classroom provides a research laboratory for students Pre-K through 16 years old.

Kent State’s AT&T Classroom will be flooded with children this summer during its annual technology camp sessions.

Kent State’s Research Center for Educational Technology hosts the sessions in its AT&T Classroom in Moulton Hall, room 034. The first session begins June 5.

“Our goal, in terms of actually offering the camps, is part of the University’s mission toward outreach in the community,” Annette Kratcoski, RCET’s director, says. “We want people in the community to have a place where their children can come and experience all of the great things Kent State has to offer.”

Kratcoski has been a part of the program for nearly a decade and oversees all of the moving parts of the camps.

The camps are designed to connect students interested in technology with tools and skills they can use throughout their time in school. They’re also a great way for students to meet others interested in similar activities.

“Those 21st century skills of creativity, thinking critically, collaborating and communicating are encompassed and emphasized in all of our camps,” Kratcoski says.

While each camp has the overarching theme of collaboration and creativity, there are different technology focuses depending on age.

Students have the choice of LEGO WeDo Robotics; LEGO Education WeDo 2.0; 3-D Modeling, Coding and Programming; Robotics and Programming with Ozobot Bit; Sphero SPRK Robotics and Game Design and Programming.

The sessions are made of 12 to 15 students so the instructor, Thomas McNeal, can have focused, individual learning time with each student.

McNeal, a program director at the RCET, has been the instructor of the camps since they began.

“This summer, we’re going to be a lot more into the robots and coding,” McNeal says. “I try to make it so it’s a fun time for the students, but they’re really learning something that they can take back to school with them later.”

McNeal teaches the younger student sessions the basics of iPad and computer use, such as how to save a file to a USB or email a project file to their parents. As the sessions progress, they use the different technologies to apply the basics.

The older students can interact with more advanced software and robotics technologies. With the LEGO WeDo camps, students can register to include a set to take home after the camp is over. The Ozobot Bit camp’s registration fee includes the purchase of the student’s robot to take home.

Last year, there were 144 registrations for the summer camps. Registration for this summer opened on March 31 with many registrations already coming in. Follow the link to register.

Ashton Vogelhuber is the technology reporter for The Burr.

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