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 for being one of our partners.

It can be hard to admit that you were wrong as a parent. And even harder to admit that your teen was right. But here goes.

One of my kids was constantly tethered to his computer. He was the kid who liked sports and loved his friends, but every free moment he got, he was on that computer. He knew it was for him when he heard about iD Tech Camps on one of our local college campuses.

I thought it would just mean more wasted time behind a computer screen.

That is just the beginning of how I was wrong.

He chose a game development course and loved it from the first minute. Each day I dropped him off, he leaped out of the car, begging me not to pick him up on time but to let him stay for the extended hours when students played some of the games they had created at camp. He was engaged in a way he had never been in the classroom.

Spoiler alert: he went on to major in computer science and now works in tech.

What did I learn?

All screen time is not created equal.

There is endless scrolling of web pages, and then there is learning to code and create those pages. There is killing time online playing games, and then there is developing those games with Python or C++. There is drifting from video to video, and then there is creating those videos with editing and effects.

The summer can be used as a time of exploration, of finding new interests and talents, far away from the traditional classroom. For older teens it is a time to delve deeper into those talents to show colleges where their interests truly lie.

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. But so often, the traditional high school classroom does not give students a window into the excitement on offer with STEM learning.

Teens can gain STEM experience with iD Tech Camp’s curriculum designed by renowned faculty

We have delved into some of the summer offerings of iD Tech 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 23+ years of experience and an expansive course lineup, iD Tech has the exact computer instruction types that match teens’ interests. Plus, their instructors are recruited from top universities like Caltech and NYU.

Learn more about iD TECH here. Save up to $100* on an iD Tech In-Person, Virtual or Online Program with promo code GROWN&FLOWN

Here is what we love about this opportunity to explore STEM this summer:

1. Teens thrive in a setting where they can socialize and meet others who share their passions.  

The return of iD Tech’s on-campus programs for Summer 2022 means that students can again meet face-to-face and collaborate with like minded peers. Working in small groups allows students to get to know each other and make new friends. Plus, small classes mean close attention to what your student needs. 

For those who prefer learning virtually or don’t live near a campus location, iD Tech offers a full suite of small-group and 1-on-1 online learning options.

2. Classroom learning can be abstract and academic, and teens need to learn how to apply their STEM knowledge to college majors and, later, careers. 

Math and science classes at school are critical to our teen’s education but may offer little insight into the exciting ways technology is developed and used in the real world. During live iD Tech classes with qualified instructors (not recorded lessons), students can dive into coding, game dev, machine learning, AI, data science, entrepreneurship (with Shark Tank’s Daymond John), video editing (with YouTube megastars Dude Perfect), and so much more.

For teens thinking about college applications, iD Tech’s certificate-granting Online Teen Academies will take their STEM and business skills even further, with exclusive curriculum developed in partnership with prestigious universities and industry experts.

3. Exploring in-demand STEM topics like coding, game dev, VR, and 3D printing early on can give teens an edge for college and future careers.

STEM majors are increasingly popular and competitive, but many students know little about them before arriving on campus. By delving into topics like coding, development, and design earlier, teens can develop their skills, test their interests, and perhaps have a better idea if they are well suited to a career in these areas. Early training can also help prepare students who wish to apply for STEM majors for the college admission process.

4. 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.

5. iD Tech 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.

6. 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 share a passion for tech and are recruited from top colleges. These highly trained instructors can inspire young students to explore their interests.

7. Entrepreneurship is a word our teens hear all the time, but might struggle to define.

iD Tech has created a series of business-oriented Online Teen Academies where teens can get exclusive access to university-tested case studies and world class simulations powered by Harvard Business Publishing. 

Whether your student has a business idea, or wants to explore what it means to be a leader in business, this is a chance for them to learn how to create mockups, design logos and business plans, pitch new concepts, explore their personal leadership style, and learn how great entrepreneurs and business leaders 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.

More details about iD Tech:

Ages: For all skill levels, ages 7-19.

On-Campus Locations: Experience life on campus at 75+ locations.

Virtual Schedule: Online Discovery Camps include 2 hours of live instruction per day + 2 hours of self-paced project development per day.

Demonstrate Interest and Capabilities: Portfolio-boosting online programs are available.

Private Instruction: Customized 1-on-1 learning available.

Learn more about iD TECH here. Save up to $100* on an iD Tech In-Person, Virtual or Online Program with promo code GROWN&FLOWN

*Valid for a limited time (4/12 – 6/30/22). $100 off applies only to Online Teen Academies, Virtual Tech Camps, and on-campus programs. $20 off applies only to Online Private Lessons.

More Great Reading:

Tech Camp: Teens Can Explore Academic Directions for College, Have Fun

More details about iD Tech Camps:

Ages: For all skill levels, ages 7-19.On-Campus Locations: Experience life on campus at 75+ locations. Schedule: Online Discovery Camps include 2 hours of live instruction per day + 2 hours of self-paced project development per day. Interest and Capabilities: Portfolio-boosting online programs are available. Instruction: Customized 1-on-1 learning available.

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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