Summer Programming Camps – Exploring Project-Based Informal CS Education in a Rural Community
Keywords:computer science education, pre-college programs, STEM, programming camps, k-12, middle school students
This paper makes several considerations for organizing short project-based programming camps to support programming knowledge and motivation. The paper addresses how current research has not explored how summer programming camps helped students not only increase interest to pursue computing career, but also increase their programming knowledge. Informal CS education through summer programming camps provides K-12 students the opportunity to learn how to code through fun and interactive activities outside of their typical classroom experiences. For rural communities with limited computing education resources, summer programming camps may be one of few opportunities to learn about computing. A one-week easy-to-implement programming camp curriculum may help students not only have fun with code but also learn fundamental programming and computational thinking skills through game development. Our annual week-long programming camp at a rural community utilized a project-based learning approach through game development in Python. Findings showed that students were able to achieve basic abstraction and algorithmic thinking but not code analysis and debugging skills. On their motivation to pursue computing careers, results did not show any difference before and after the camp due to their prior existing interest in attending the camp.
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