“Now, I can do activities besides watch TV,” David said. “I can get on the Internet and do math and science and social studies and reading.”
David was one of 14 children participating Thursday in Camp Data, a weeklong technology camp for children ages 8 to 11. He hunched over a laptop with a new friend, Joseph Hampton, 9, as the pair – who nicknamed themselves the “Computer Men” – designed a newsletter with Microsoft Publisher.
Camp Data began in 2008 as an outreach project by the city’s information technology division. Children learn basic computer skills and are introduced to computer applications, Microsoft products and Web design.
“We are exposing children to
the world of technology,” said deputy city administrator and information technology director Tameka Allen.
This year, the IT division joined with the recreation, parks and facilities department to hold four one-week sessions at four different community centers at no cost to participants. The classes were previously held at the IT training center.
The camp is also expanding to include classes for adults later this summer.
The curriculum changes each year to adjust to children’s evolving knowledge of and exposure to technology, Allen said. The camp bolsters computer skills taught during the school year.
“Now, kids are just as aware of technology as adults are,
but we want them to know how to use it properly and safely,” Allen said.
The camp, taught by city IT workers, also helps children who might not have a home computer, she said.
Glenn Hall, a client support specialist for the IT department, helped campers design their newsletter step-by-step. They were learning to change graphics, insert photos and resize boxes.
“When we started I asked who knew what Microsoft Publisher was. Nobody raised their hand,” Hall said. “Now, they have an understanding of what Publisher is and what it does.”
David said the week at Camp Data helped him improve his typing skills. He won’t have to ask his older sister to help him on the computer anymore.