Technology day camp gives kids hands-on experience

Twenty students in fifth through eighth grades gained hands-on technology experience this summer at a fun-filled day camp that is the brainchild of University of Minnesota graduate students. The University of Minnesota Summer Technology Day Camp, which was held Aug. 21–25 on campus, introduced the younger students to science and engineering and gave them a glimpse into graduate school education through creative high-tech activities, tours, and demonstrations.

During the week the kids constructed boomboxes made from plastic lunch boxes, speakers, battery packs, and other components. They also created a 3-D movie and programmed Sony AIBOs (robot dogs) to dance.

The camp was created and organized through a grassroots effort by computer science and engineering graduate students to reach kids who don’t typically get high-level technology experiences. This year a diverse group of 18 University graduate student volunteers donated about eight hours each during the week to run the camp.

The program was led by doctoral student Kelly Cannon under the guidance of Nikos Papanikolopoulos, professor of computer science and engineering. The camp was co-sponsored by the Digital Technology Center and the Center for Distributed Robotics.