How Middle and High School Students Can Explore STEM This Summer

NOTE: Grown and Flown was compensated for this post but the opinions in it are our own. Thanks to iD Tech Camps for being one of our partners.

Summers with teens can be L O N G. And a summer that follows a school year spent at home behind a computer can seem even longer. For younger teens it can feel a little like a holding pattern, trying to fill the time with odd jobs, hanging out with friends, and playing sports. They complain of boredom or spend hours on social media and playing video games. 

It was a brutal school year for so many teens and the antidote to that might be a summer with a big dose of relaxation in order to recharge. Experts are reminding us that teens may need even more time this year to pursue the things they love.

For some teens technology, programming, gaming, video and design are the things they love. 

But, you might say, “I can’t bear for them to have more screen time. The entire year was spent inside their bedroom, looking at a computer monitor.” 

All screen time is not created equal. (Twenty20 @NatalyaBodrova) )

All screentime is not created equal.

All screentime is not created equal. Over the last year we have watched our families explore new interests, learn new skills, take up new hobbies, find new challenges, finish a degree, and set off on a new career path, all without leaving our home. 

We’ve seen the distance we can travel without traveling any distance at all. 

The summer can be used as a time of exploration, of finding new interests and talents, far away from the traditional classroom.

For years we have been hearing about the importance of our children and teens studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as part of their classroom curriculum. We have come to accept that the skills taught in these disciplines are part of the essential 21st century foundation that will allow our teens and later, young adults, to thrive in college and the workplace. 

Teens can gain STEM experience this summer with a tech camp at iD Tech

We have delved into some of the summer offerings of iDTech and have found many excellent ways to learn more about technology, excite their interest in STEM and engage with highly knowledgeable college students and make friends with similar interests.

With 20+ years of experience and an expansive online course lineup, iD Tech Camps have the exact types of computer instruction that matches teens’ interests.  Plus, their 1500 instructors are college students and young adults. 

Here is what we love about this opportunity:

1. Classroom learning can be abstract and academic, and teens need to learn how to apply their STEM knowledge. 

Math and science classes at school are critical to our teen’s education but may offer them little insight into the exciting ways technology is developed and used in the real world. During live classes with qualified instructors, (not recorded lessons) students can work hands-on with robots or practice Java coding and game design with Minecraft.

They can learn about video editing (with Dude Perfect 56 Million YouTube subscribers), Machine Learning, Python coding or Minecraft design. The excitement in STEM is applying their newly acquired skills.

2. Esports (also known as electronic sports) is a form of competition using video games; it is a booming $1B industry with competitive teams, varsity sports, college scholarships and all the benefits of being part of a team. 

For teens many of the benefits mirror those of traditional team sports (minus the fitness): teamwork, competition, learning skills, collaboration and work. Many high schools now have competitive teams and many colleges have varsity teams and scholarships. 

3. Learning a programming language can give teens an early idea if this is a college major or career they would like to pursue.

Computer Sciences is one of the most popular college majors but many students know little about it before they arrive on campus. By delving into computer programming skills early, teens can test their interest and perhaps have a better idea if they are well suited to this course of study. Early training can also prepare students who wish to take the AP Computer Science exam in high school. 

4. iDTech also offers design classes for the teen who wants to delve into the creative side of technology.

For teens who love to create there are classes on making a YouTube channel and working with animation and digital shorts. Using tools from Adobe Suite, Photoshop and Animate to Premiere, students can produce work that looks professional. For anyone interested in video storytelling, this is a great place to begin. 

5. There is nothing more inspiring to a young teen than a “cool” accomplished instructor who  has applied their interest in tech to their college major and careers.

We love that our kids and teens are exposed to adult instructors who have a shared passion for tech, and are recruited from top colleges. These highly trained instructors can be an inspiration to young students exploring their interests. 

6. Teens thrive in a setting where they meet others who share their passions with plenty of time to socialize. 

Teens have learned to take their social life online and at iDTech they can meet and collaborate with others who share their enthusiasm. Working in small groups allows students to get to know each other and make new friends. 

Plus, small classes means close attention to what your student needs.

7. Entrepreneurship, we all hear all about it but few know what it means and what it takes. 

Entrepreneurship is a word our teens hear all the time, but might struggle to define. Enter Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank, who teaches a class in which he shares his deep knowledge on how new innovative companies are formed and what it takes for them to succeed. This is a chance for students to learn how they take their idea and create mockups, design logos and business plans, pitch new concepts and learn how great entrepreneurs succeed.

And if you’re just not sure what class might be right, your teen can start with a Discovery Lesson to explore interests or take a Private Lesson to get started. In both cases, you can split the lesson with a sibling or friend and you both save 50%.

So many teens go through high school and later college with little idea of the career they would like to pursue. Early exposure to the applications of technology and an exploration of their own interests, teens may enter college with more insight into what path suits them best. 

GROWN AND FLOWN READERS CAN SAVE $125 off any iD Tech Virtual Tech Camp by using this iD TECH VIRTUAL TECH CAMPS unique link and code GNF125

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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