This summer, my older two boys were able to participate in Apple Camp at Ross Park Mall. This camp is free and lasts for 90 minutes on three separate days. It is only offered for a short time and is extremely popular and hard to get in. There are three topic areas: iBooks, iMovie, and Video Game Design and Programming Robots. We picked the last topic and chose the afternoon sessions on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
On the very first day, we learned that kids can also have birthday parties at the Apple store and schools can bring field trips! So that's a cool idea to keep in mind for winter boredom days.
Apple Camp is great, but it isn't a drop off camp. Parents are asked to stay in the mall and if they want to stay in the store, they can participate in a creativity session. I thought I'd be learning about neat ways to use my own iWork apps, but on the first day we actually got an overview of what our kids would be learning and some insight into the purpose behind the camp. It was interesting!
Back to Apple Camp. The campers used apps like Tynker and Hopscotch that encouraged them to think about coding in steps. This reminded me of the board game Robot Turtles which also encourages this kind of thinking without any technology.
|Of course they wore Beats.|
The instructor for parents was thinking along my lines and recommend the website code.org that helps kids make the leap from instructional design to actually coding AND offers paper-based products so kids can develop these skills without access to computers.
Turns out Apple needs engineer and this camp is designed to encourage instructional design and logical thinking. But it's not a long camp, so it's really an intro into apps that kids can use year round to develop instructional design and logical thinking.
I daydreamed a little and imagined what it would be like if my kids applied logical thinking to their entire lives…probably too good to be true.
The second day of camp focused on some hardware options and introduced the campers to Sphero. Our instructor suggested we also look into the Little Bits products that encourages kids to use everyday at home objects with electronic components to build projects. Sounds like a fun Christmas present idea to me!
I didn't actually hear everything that was mentioned about this next part because I was multi-tasking and getting my oldest son's cracked phone screen repaired.
The last main thing we learned that the Swift Playground apps will be available for free when iOS 10 launches this fall. Swift the language has been around for a few years, but the Playgrounds app will allow kids to code mini-programs.
Also, we learned that the wifi at the mall stinks and it's hard to catch Pokemon there. But I did snag a Meowth. That's right.