First row, from left: Gabrielle Hyppolite, Myrsa Prinston, Bryhanna Germain, Sushant Shrestha, Senay Tesfamicael, Alessandra Foster, Suzanne Maharjan and co-leader Lori Blank. Second row, from left: co-leader Akira Kamiya, UMass Lowell student, Geatano Foster, Bryanna Mason, UMass Lowell student, Anthony Cooper, Ricardo Harper and Nathaniel Tesfamicael. In back are UMass Lowell student Ryan Medeiros and Johnathan Horgan.More than a dozen middle school students from Everett Public Schools attended a week-long summer camp designed to introduce them to coding and basic computer science concepts in a fun and engaging way. The camp, which was funded by a National Science Foundation grant, was directed by computer science majors from UMass Lowell and experienced middle school technology teachers. It featured engaging community partners and a cutting-edge curriculum.
Students learned how to create mobile phone apps for partner organizations, giving them the chance to offer their newly developed technology skills for positive social change and to further connect with their community.
This year campers heard presentations from La Comunidad (Everett Immigrant Services), the Everett Community Growers (a community garden to farmers’ market and food pantry initiative), the Everett Conservation Commission and the Everett Historical Commission. They learned about the variety of work being done – growing and distributing food, supporting immigrant rights, preserving the waterfront – and about how the Historical Commission is creating new historical walking tours in anticipation of the new tourists coming to the city when the new casino opens! So many exciting things going on in Everett, and the campers got to learn all about them.
The campers worked to design and make mobile Android apps that could help these organizations do their work! The camp tries to model a real entrepreneurial process, so that students learn about planning and collaboration, development and testing and finally, presentation. By the end, all of the participants developed a competitive yet enjoyable and cooperative spirit among the teams.
At the end of the week students showed off their apps and spoke to a packed room of parents, community partner organizers and school officials. This year the camp was led by Akira Kamiya and Lafayette School technology teacher Lori Blank.
Students also learned about potential career paths and how computer science is related to most other fields of work. All along the aim was to make this technological skill accessible and fun – and based on the smiles seen along the way, a good job was done!