MUSCATINE, Iowa–With school out for the summer and many traditional camps canceled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many parents feel at a loss for how to keep their kids entertained and learning this summer. To help kids have positive summer experiences from home, and to teach them useful and fun 21st Century skills, Muscatine Community College has moved its summer camps online this year.
Verlee Washington, information technology program facilitator at Eastern Iowa Community College’s (the consortium Muscatine Community College belongs to) Urban Campus, explained that her department had discussed hosting online summer camps before, but decided to test them out this year in response to COVID-19 closures.
For the first time ever, using Zoom video classes and virtual platforms provided by Black Rocket, children eight to 14-years-old can learn a variety of technology skills. From an introduction to coding in Python Programmers Camp to developing 2-D and 3-D video games in Make Your First Video Game! and Rocket Kart Racers respectively, youngsters can take the first steps in learning technology skills that could serve them in future careers. For those interested in streaming and online content creation, eSports Apprentice-Streamers and Gamers Camp and YouTube® Content Creators can get a sneak peek at what people in two fast growing industries do and how they can master those skills too.
Washington highly recommends these classes to any interested child, “because they teach you a lot of information about the future and how to prepare for it.” She also hopes that by giving kids an introduction to learning about technology, “if they start young, they can develop a passion that can blossom into something beautiful.”
Although the camps predominantly focus on video games, Washington emphasizes the skills learned in them can apply to any job that requires coding, 2-D or 3-D digital modeling, and online video production.”We’re preparing them for the future and having fun doing it,” she added.
Since Muscatine Community College and the other Eastern Iowa Community Colleges went online, Washington says that the need for IT professionals tripled, and that other businesses that moved to remote work experienced similar jumps. “Our IT people were working almost as much as the doctors and nurses,” she recalls. She says this experience highlights the need for young people to learn about technology and prepare for careers in growing demand.
If you would like to enroll your child in one of Muscatine Community College’s online summer camps, Washington encourages you to visit https://eicc.edu/continuing-education/summercamp/. She hopes that many area youth will take advantage of these exciting opportunities and have a fun and exciting summer, even if camps look a lot different than they typically do.