Do Teenagers Truly Enjoy STEM Summer Courses?

Almost every parent we speak with agrees that a STEM summer courses for teenagers are a great idea and that computer programming skills are critical. STEM skills foster valuable life skills like creativity, problem solving and collaboration, but teens aren’t always eager to give up their summer sleep-in for a week in the classroom.

But think about this: Jobs in STEM are growing at nearly twice the national average in the US, meaning that by 2020, in the US alone, there will be well over 1 million tech positions unfilled!

So, how do you inspire the next generation to wake up early to learn to code and create solutions and products meaningful to their generation? By offering them the opportunity to dive into hands-on learning, creating, engineering, coding, programming, and making in a STEM summer course.

Only 10 percent of schools teach computer science, even one hour of exposure can be enough to change a student’s life, as it did mine. In the 21st century, this isn’t just a course you study to get a job in software–it’s important to learn even if you want to be a nurse, a journalist, an accountant, a lawyer or even a president. – Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org

STEM summer courses, July 2016

TechSpark Academy Instructors

Our founder Marta onsite at Ecolint with students and instructors

Onsite at Ecolint in Geneva for summer 2016 courses Meet part of our TechSpark Academy team!

This past week marked TechSpark Academy’s fourth STEM summer camp and we couldn’t be more proud of all our students who participated in coding, creating and building their skills in 21st-century literacy.

Our TechSpark Academy Geneva camp welcomed 52 students to 5 different courses at the International School (Ecolint, Les Nations).

3D Printing, our newest course, turned out to be one of our most popular. In fact, demand for this class was so high up to registration we needed to split the students into two classes.

Unless a child is overly enthusiastic about programming or technology themselves, it’s hard to judge as a parent if signing them up for a week long coding class is really going to interest them. (and if it doesn’t, you’ll hear about it the rest of the vacation).

We have pulled together some of the student feedback, by course, so you can hear what they had to say about each of the five courses offered this summer.

What teenagers say about summer technology camps

3D Printing with Solidworks:

“Something you rarely get to do, and with cool and fun teachers!”

Summer course 3D student showing off her creations

Here is what our ‘3d printers’ told us about our newest course on how to print 3D!

“3D printing is something we as students rarely have the opportunity to do, it’s an amazing course, full of interesting techniques and designs.”

“Fantastic introduction to Solidworks, and friendly and relevant to many academic subjects.”

“Our teachers were cool and fun to work with.”

And yes, our students are also realistic, saying “Fun course that helps get through days which otherwise might be you sitting at home with their iPhone or watching TV”. It’s so good some of them appreciate this point!

Mobile App Programming with Swift:

“A great way to be introduced to programming while creating your own game or app!”

Check out our Apple “Swifters” who were no less enthusiastic!

“It was fun: you could enjoy it while creating your own game.”

“Check out this awesome course where I learnt how to make my own app.”

“It was fun you will enjoy it.”

In Swift, too, we had the natural admission that “It’s great but very tiring … it’s a very good introduction to programming”. Got to work at it, but you’ll love it!

Introduction to Programming with Python

“It is Awesome and gives you a strong base in the python language”

Python students coding and creating.

And what about Programming Python, a powerful and fast computer language that everyone learns at the EPFL?

“I have never tried coding before and I always thought it was something hard to complete however this course made me realize that coding is fun and simple once you understand the roots of it.”

“I now know how to create games, which I have always loved playing like the snake game, and I developed new skills.” 

“It was very educational, and I learnt a lot.”

Digital Photography and Film with Adobe

“An Amazing course!”

Our photography course is one of our favorites. Teens think so too!

“I learnt lots of very cool things about photography and my teachers were super funny and we did a very good project. I really enjoyed this course.”

“I think that the Photography course was probably the best out of all!”

“It is a great course that teaches you how to edit and take pictures.”

And yes….”This is an amazing course! :)”

Adventures in Robotics with Arduino

“The best camp ever…..”

The Robotics students were no less enthusiastic, with very practical recommendations for their friends.

“Dude! You should try out the tech spark academy camps at Ecolint! They’re so cool, we literally made ROBOTS! Of course, there are other things to do like 3d printing, but you can check it out on the internet.”

“It was the best camp ever and really made me want to continue this type of thing.”

“There is a really cool camp on robotics called TechSpark. Try it out!”

Thinking about something for your teens to do the remainder of this vacation, or already thinking about the next break coming up? Join our August course in Lausanne and bookmark our website for upcoming vacations.

We’re certain your teens won’t need convincing to attend a TSA coding. As they say ”They are pretty cool and you don’t feel bored at class”.

If you had a teen who attended this course we’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop by our Facebook page and please leave us a comment!