Jen Rosato and Chery Takkunen

Jen Rosato and Chery Takkunen

Two popular summer programs at St. Scholastica are helping cultivate the next generation of computer scientists and programmers, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the College's technology and education departments.

St. Scholastica's annual summer tech camps return the week of June 23, giving middle school-aged children the chance to learn about engaging real-world applications for computer science, including robot and video game design.

"Our future depends on getting kids interested in technology," said Tom Gibbons, associate professor in the School of Business and Technology, and one of the camp organizers.

The Game Design Camp taught by Gibbons will concentrate on technical as well as creative aspects of making games. Participants in the Robotics Camp, conducted by Ordean East teacher Tim Churchill, will work in pairs and small teams to construct robots with the Lego® Mindstorms® NXT Robotics kit.

Jennifer Rosato, assistant professor of Computer Information Systems, is helping organize a girls tech camp geared toward attracting this underrepresented group into the computer science field. Planned activities include building a Lego Robot pet, creating animations and games, and filming and producing a video.

Meanwhile, Rosato and Chery Takkunen, associate professor and chair of Graduate Education Programs for the School of Education, are working together on an ongoing Massive Open Online Course or MOOC. Funded through a highly competitive Google grant, the MOOC is helping K-12 teachers connect with students interested in computer science. It will train the educators on how to teach a newly created Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles class. The AP class will include all of the wider aspects of computer science, illustrated through the use of App Inventor, a visual, blocks-based environment for creating Android apps.