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Computer Science
Bethlehem PA

Shaping Young Minds

Jeff Maher on Monday, 04 September 2006. Posted in Co-op

As the weather warmed up and everyone whipped out his/her shorts, I shipped off to Washington, DC to begin my co-op as the lead instructor at iD Tech Camps' Georgetown University campus . At my prior co-ops, I was usually shown a cubicle and a computer, warned about computer viruses, and given something to work on for a month or so. This time, I was shown a room with many computers, warned about anything that kids might do to endanger themselves (use your imagination...), and given a general outline for some material to teach. In short, it was going to be different. Not that I ever minded the cubicle work environment, but it was a refreshing change to be able to try out a different type of job.

Originally, I was going to teach Video Game Creation, a class geared towards simple two dimensional game design. However, due to some last minute changes in the staff a mere 5 days before heading to DC, I wound up teaching Programming & Robotics. I was a little worried at first, since I had to learn a whole new curriculum a few days before camp began. Fortunately, it was really just teaching the basics of computer programming (using Java and easyC) and other topics that any computer science major should have a firm grasp over.

While it was quite exhausting, it was also very rewarding. When we'd get to the end of each week, my students' parents would come in to see the projects. The smiles on the kids' faces and the proudness in their parents' eyes gave me a great sense of fullfillment. Additionally, being the lead instructor put my leadership and communication skills to the test - whether it was teaching the kids or working with the camp staff. To boot, the camp staff was amazing and a blast to be around.

Building the robots with my class