Middle schoolers learn how to make their own websites, video games at Austin Peay coding camps
(Posted June 7, 2021)
Dozens of area middle schoolers already have taken advantage of this summer’s Google-supported coding camps at Austin Peay State University.
Currently, the campers are in two camps – a morning camp where they learn how to build their own websites and an afternoon camp where they learn how to make their own video games. But Austin Peay also is offering upcoming camps for middle and high schoolers to learn how to program in the popular game “Minecraft.” And high schoolers also will get a chance to learn website building and video game making.
“Everything has been really fun this week,” said Dot Rojas, who will be an eighth-grader this fall. “They make it, I think intuitive is the best word to use, and everything has gone fairly smoothly. It breaks down in simple terms that I think really anyone could understand.”
Rojas attended the video game-making camp last week, and her favorite part was learning C# programming and how to use Unity’s game development platform. She said she wants to build video games or create the art that goes into the games.
One of the camp’s instructors, Rashaad Washington, a computer science senior at Austin Peay, said he wished he had had a similar camp in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, when he was in middle school.
“If this was available at the time, I’d definitely go to something like this,” he said.
Washington’s favorite part of the camp, like Rojas’s, was with using Unity to build games.
“It’s interesting to see how the kids like it because, although it’s new to me, it’s also new to them,” he said. “And it’s just a cool experience.”
Registration still open for upcoming camps
This summer, Austin Peay is offering 10 camps – in addition to the popular “Make Your Own Website” and “Make Your Own Video Games” camps. All camps are half-day and Monday-Friday.
The university also has added two new offerings to the summer coding camps – Minecraft camps for both middle (June 14-18) and high school students (June 28-July 2) and girls-preferred camps (June 28-July 2).
“The students in the Minecraft camps will get a free year of Minecraft (education edition) that they can take home with them,” said Dr. James Church, associate professor in APSU’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. “But the camp is not going to be just playing Minecraft, it’s going to be the basics to programming in Minecraft.”
Registration is still open for these and other camps, and because of a $40,000 grant from Google, students who want to attend the camps can sign up at a steep discount. The first half of campers who sign up will get a 90% discount off the normal $99 price. All other campers will get a 60% discount.
For more information, visit www.apsu.edu/csci/camp.
Google grants fueling APSU initiatives
The summer coding camps are heavily funded by a competitive grant from Google. Austin Peay also recently received Google community grants to support a new makerspace at the APSU GIS Center and Operation: STEM Success, which offers free Algebra I and chemistry tutoring to local high school students.
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