This summer, we’re excited to continue our partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. For an entire week, campers learn cutting-edge technology skills while having lots of fun getting hands-on experience building their very own video game, iPhone app, or virtual reality environment.

If your kid loves gaming or computer technology, they’ll have a blast getting creative while learning and refining new programming skills.

Here’s a sneak peek at each of the unique technology courses available at Summer Camps @ The Tech this summer. We also sat down with Jamie Solomon, Program Director, to ask her a few questions about what to expect at camp this year.

 

Explore Our Class Offerings

3D Game Design with Unreal Engine

Monday & Tuesday

The first two days of camp are dedicated to teaching campers how to work with Unreal Engine, the same video game design platform that Fortnite is built upon. They’ll learn the basics of building environments in Unreal including adding structure, texture, lighting and objects into the game, as well as how to build a tracking system to record things like character health and collected points.

Campers will get plenty of opportunities early in the week to practice what they learn in their own game to start building out the initial phases.

Wednesday & Thursday

Now that we’ve got the basics down, campers progress onto learning about fundamental playability concepts to make their game fun and functional for their audience, and then refine the goals and progression of their game to improve the user experience.

At this point in the week, campers should have a rough draft of their game that’s ready for initial review. Campers will exchange their game with peers to playtest each others’ games and share constructive feedback and ideas to help improve the games.

Friday

On the final day of the week, campers will work on getting their game ready for the final release by adding and fine-tuning all elements they learned during the week. Campers from other classes are invited to test out the games in the week’s grand finale.

The day ends with campers taking home a copy of their game so they can enjoy it after camp, showing it off to their friends and family—or even continuing to build onto it at home.

 

Code Masters With Python

While the Game Design With Unreal Engine class is an introduction to video game design using an established professional game design platform, our Code Masters with Python course is a more advanced and challenging approach to building a choose your own adventure game completely from a native programming language. For this reason, we recommend campers who choose this class have previous coding experience.

Monday & Tuesday 

The first two days of this class provide campers with a refresher course on the basics of coding and an introduction to the programming language of Python. This is the same programming language that’s used in recognizable apps and websites like YouTube, Dropbox, Spotify, and Reddit. Using Python, they’ll start building out their own text-based interactive fiction game, creating a basic foundation to build upon for the rest of the week.

Wednesday & Thursday

In the middle of the week, campers will add complexity to their game with a variety of more advanced functions to create like puzzles through things like “if/then” sequences and loops. They’ll also learn how to incorporate images to interact with Python to show up within their game. These images can represent everything from the games background and setting, to gold coins, tools, and other similar objects.

At this point in the week, campers will also have dedicated time to share their adventure games with other campers, get constructive feedback, and then apply those ideas to make the games even better.

Friday

The last day of camp is focused on helping campers get their game to become playable while fine-tuning all the design elements they learned during the week. Instructors will invite campers from other classes to play-test the games. At the end of the day, kids get to take home a copy of their game to share with family and friends.

 

iOS App Development With Swift

Monday & Tuesday

In the first couple days of the week, campers will learn the basics of Xcode, the language that Apple uses to build software programs on their platform. They’ll use this programming language to build their very own app project during the week. Campers are given the chance to explore their visionary side by brainstorming ideas for and designing an app using their own imagination!


Wednesday & Thursday

During the middle of the week, campers will use their newly acquired knowledge to build out a rough draft of their app. They’ll run into plenty of roadblocks and challenges along the way, and our staff and other campers will help them overcome these obstacles—learning a ton in the process, including the ability to persevere in the face of challenges—to finally upload their app for the initial test.

Friday

On Friday, campers will showcase their app to other campers and instructors while presenting information about the problems the app can solve and how it can make the world a better place. Kids leave camp with a feeling of accomplishment and pride that they built an app that’s both useful and exciting.

 

Virtual Reality With Unity

Monday & Tuesday

Campers hit the ground running and dive into the basics of virtual reality applications. As an introduction to the field, campers build their very own VR viewer with Google Cardboard and use an experimental VR toolkit. Using the Unity 3D design platform, , they will design the initial layouts of their own interactive worlds.

Wednesday & Thursday

During the middle of the week, campers add more complexity to their VR worlds by creating landscapes, buildings, and other elements. Peers will get a chance to share feedback on each other’s VR creations, providing new ideas and suggestions to improve their designs.

Friday

Friday ends with a fun showcase and presentation of the final products from the week. Campers from other classes are invited to stop by and explore the various virtual worlds created by their fellow Galileans. At the conclusion of camp, the kids will get to take their unique digital projects home (as well as their Google Cardboard) and invite friends and family to explore away.

 

ASK AN EXPERT

We interviewed Jamie Solomon, the program director of Summer Camps @ The Tech, to get the inside scoop on this year’s technology classes.

What do you love the most about these classes?

For starters, campers get lots of real-world experience in our technology classes. These are highly valuable skills that will only increase in demand over the next few decades, so it’s awesome that we get to teach them to our kids and get them so much hands-on practice.

I also love seeing our campers begin to think like innovators. Learning a new programming language isn’t easy, but watching campers overcome challenges and solve problems with a high degree of determination is amazing to witness throughout the week.

It’s also a lot of fun! It requires a lot of creativity to bring unique and innovative ideas to life in a new video game, app, or VR environment.

 

How do we see Galileo Innovation Approach at play within these classes? 

These classes are absolutely full of opportunities to practice all five aspects of the Innovator’s Mindset: be visionary, be courageous, be collaborative, be determined, and be reflective.

 

Visionary:
Campers think about what they want to create and then bring it to life. They imagine things that don’t exist, drawing inspiration from what they’ve seen around them instead of just copying another app or game they’ve seen before.

Courageous:
Putting yourself out there to your peers and asking for feedback takes a lot of courage! The tools they’ll use this week are professional grade with lots of complexity. It takes courage to be willing to dive into something really challenging that they may not have used before.

Collaborative:
Campers collaborate with each other at camp by asking their peers to provide constructive feedback on their games, apps, or VR creations. There are plenty of opportunities to think through solutions and troubleshoot with others. There are infinite things that can go wrong when you’re coding, so it’s helpful to have opportunities to collaborate with their peers and Galileo staff.

Determined:
It takes so much determination to push through the countless issues and difficulties that are all part of the coding process. At times, campers might feel that they’re up against insurmountable obstacles, but pushing through it develops a powerful mindset in our kids. Mastery requires a ton of effort. This principle applies to many areas of life beyond camp. The longer you work at anything, the more success you’ll find.

Reflective:
When creating or troubleshooting anything, it’s super important to reflect on your goals. You should be constantly thinking about what is and isn’t working, how to improve it, while paying attention to the intricate details.

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We’re very excited to offer classes that are on the cutting edge of technology and innovation for rising 4th – 8th graders at The Tech this summer. If you’re interested in learning more about Summer Camps @ The Tech in San Jose, CA, click the button below.

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