A reported one million STEM jobs will go unfilled by 2020. We’re talking some of the highest-paid, most creative careers imaginable. Yet most K-12 schools are ill-equipped to teach students the skills they need to thrive in our tech-driven world. Thankfully, extracurricular opportunities like summer tech camps exist to close that gap and equip students with skills that will help them succeed. But how can you be sure to send your teen to the right summer program?
Consider these important qualities that make for the best summer tech camp experience.
1. Class Size
Class size can dramatically impact your teen’s summer camp experience. While you need enough students to facilitate interesting discussions and collaboration among peers, too many students means significantly less student-teacher interaction. It’s all about finding the right balance.
To ensure that your teen will get personalized instruction, choose a summer tech camp with no more than a 14:1 student-to-instructor ratio. In general, the lower the ratio, the more one-on-one attention your teen will receive.
Good summer camp instructors are hard to come by. Your teen wants to be taught by someone who is fun, upbeat, and tech-savvy—someone who lives and breathes technology and can act as a positive mentor. Instructors should be passionate about the fields of study they teach.
When searching for a summer tech camp, look for programs that carefully select their staff and have a high instructor retention rate. Many programs provide a “Meet the Instructors” page where parents can learn more about the individuals who will be teaching the programs.
Tech camps can be held at a variety of locations, including universities, museums, community centers, schools, and other buildings. You wouldn’t attend a swimming camp that was held away from water, so don’t let your teen attend a tech camp that’s held at a random location. Instead, look for locations that are both relevant and motivational.
For instance, imagine your teen attending a programming camp that’s held at a prestigious university. As your student learns to program and code, he or she will get a taste of what it feels like to be in college working toward a promising (and fun!) career. Your teen will be moments away from top faculty, and will experience first-hand what it’s like to attend that specific college. Camps are frequently offered at multiple locations, allowing you to choose the locale that best fits your teen’s interests. A camp’s location will set the tone for the entire experience, so choose wisely.
4. Quality of Curriculum
Without high-quality STEM curriculum, your teen’s summer tech camp experience could be a flop. On the other hand, the summer program shouldn’t feel like school, lest your teen get bored or unmotivated.
The best technology camps incorporate hands-on learning, collaboration, and project-based discovery. They give students the opportunity to build, code, create, and design in a fun, supervised environment that provides just the right amount of support and direction. A mix of classroom instruction and supplemental activities provides a good blend of fun and education, ensuring that teens will learn real-world skills that will benefit them in school, college, and future careers.
Learn STEM Skills in an Upbeat, Educational Environment at iD Tech
iD Tech has been offering fun and educational summer technology camps for 16 years. Teens can choose from 4 summer programs, and will learn in high-energy courses that provide hands-on experience in coding, app development, programming, electrical engineering, graphic design, robotics, and modding with Minecraft. At these fun, non-school programs, students develop a project and meet teens with similar interests. Rocking an 8:1 student-to-instructor ratio and some of the best staff around, iD Tech is the leader in summer STEM education. Over 200,000 students have attended since 1999.
iD Tech programs are inclusive of every gender, background, skill level, and learning style. The company offers five distinct summer experiences: iD Tech Camps (ages 7-17), Alexa Café (all-girls, ages 10-15), iD Tech Mini (ages 6-9), and 2-week, pre-college teen academies for ages 13-18 (iD Programming Academy and iD Game Design & Development Academy). These programs are held at over 150 prestigious campuses nationwide, including Stanford, Caltech, NYU, and others in 30 states.