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Austin Peay adds Minecraft camp to its Google-backed summer coding camps

Jonathan Snyder programs during "Minecraft" camp.

(Posted June 21, 2021)

Jonathan Snyder

The most popular of Austin Peay State University’s summer coding camps – “Learning Programming with Minecraft” for middle schoolers – filled up within days of registration opening.

In addition to the massive popularity of the world-building game, the Minecraft camp – offered by the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology – attracted students who wanted more from the game.

“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, who’s leading the camps with several APSU computer science students. “But the camp is not going to be just playing Minecraft, it’s going to be the basics to programming in Minecraft.”

‘Mind-blowing’ lessons

Jonathan Snyder, who’s entering seventh grade at Northeast Middle School, said he’s learned more at the camp than he could by himself.

“All of the information that they’ve taught us is mind-blowing,” he said.

Snyder has attended two of the other coding camps – the website-building and video game-development camps.

“The camps have shown me how much you can interact with a computer and what it can do and how much coding it takes to develop something simple,” he said.

Snyder said his favorite camp was game development “because we developed multiple different games, a platform similar to “Mario,” and we developed a car game and a zombie shooter game.”

He said he hopes to pursue a career in computers, specifically something in cybersecurity or game development.

More than 30 students participated in the Minecraft camp last week. Another 20 students participated in a morning website-building camp. High school students will get a chance at their own Minecraft camp June 28-July 2 (visit the coding camp website to register).

Minecraft camp APSU

Registration still open for upcoming camps

Austin Peay’s 10 summer coding camps started on May 31 and include the popular “Make Your Own Website” and “Make Your Own Video Games” camps.

Four camps remain – all for high schoolers (Make Your Own Websites, Make Your Own Video Games, Learning Programming with Minecraft-Girls Preferred and Make Your Own Video Games-Girls Preferred). Registration is open for the last two camps, both of which run June 28-July 2.

All camps are half-day and Monday-Friday. Each Friday, the campers get to speak with Google employees, learning what it’s like to work for Google and what the future holds for computer scientists.

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 signed up got 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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