During the second week of camps, I was fortunate enough to help out at Tech Camp for a few hours. That is one of the advantages of having developed our own curriculum and taking turns with teaching the different camps, we all gain insight into the various fields we touch upon in our camps. Tech Camp is designed for students of Grades 4 to 7 with a special interest in Technology, with activities in cinematic science, data collection and analysis, and mechatronics. One of the advantages of having developed our own curriculum is that we get to take turns with teaching the different camps, and we all gain insight into the various fields we touch upon in our camps. For the time that I spent with our most tech-savvy campers, our Tech Camp Coordinator Morgan had planned a GIMP project. For those of you who don’t know, GIMP is a raster graphics editor, a computer program with features similar to Paint or Photoshop to edit, compose and retouch images with. The difference between GIMP and Paint or Photoshop, you ask? GIMP is free! GIMP is a product of the free, open source software ideology, much like the operating system kernel Linux – it was developed by a group of volunteers and made available on the Internet, both the program and the coding for it, for whoever wants to use it and improve it.
That morning, we used GIMP to edit and add a creative flair to pictures that the campers had taken all over campus earlier in the week. That way, they did not only learn to use a graphic editor that is free and available to use at home and get acquainted with the open source ideology, but got to do it in a fun way, exercising their creativity within the field of informatics and graphic design. How fun? Well, just look at the pictures that illustrate this blog entry! They are all artwork from that day.
What truly surprised me, was how knowledgeable our students were, and how quickly they caught on to a new program. Some of the kids that I talked to in the computer room had experience programming computers such as the Raspberry Pi, which I had not even heard of! It was very easy to connect with the students, partly because we had a similar background in the field even with a ten years age gap! In an age marked by the use of technology and the Internet everywhere, by everyone, for everything, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how this technology actually works, and how it is to be used safely. This is why programs like the Science AL!VE Tech Camp and many others are popular and valuable. I am glad I got to learn so much from my fellow Tech campers. I am definitely a lot better at “GIMPing” now, and thoroughly enjoyed the creative process.
Read part three of Lea's adventures.
Beyond the Blog
Visit the Science AL!VE website to learn more about their programs!