Jun 10, 2020 By Team YoungWonks *
What is an online coding summer camp? With the Coronavirus pandemic leaving us no option but to hunker down and shut our schools and colleges, not only has there been an upswing in the number of online classes but the summer has also brought with it a wave of online summer camps for kids. In this blogpost, we shall take a look at online coding summer camps for kids. Before we take a look at what it means, let us look at what the terms summer camp and online summer camp mean.
What is an online summer camp?
To begin with, a summer camp or a sleepaway camp typically refers to a supervised program for children or teenagers that’s conducted during the summer months. Traditionally, summer camps take place in a woody place with hiking, canoeing, and campfires. But this scenario has undergone a change over the years. Today, one sees newer types of summer camps providing a wide array of activities for kids and teenagers. For instance, there are camps for performing arts, music, magic, computer programming (coding), language learning, mathematics, children with special needs, and even weight loss.
Which brings us to the subject of virtual or online summer camp. An online summer camp, as the name suggests, is basically a summer camp taking place in the digital realm. Here too, students devote hours to the summer camp activity, except it is all happening online and can be attended from one’s home, instead of an onsite camp taking place outdoors. And while these camps are not much of a replacement when it comes to physical activities taking place outdoors, subjects such as art, music, computer programming, math, science lend themselves well to the online format. This explains why scores of online coding summer camps have come up today.
What is an online coding summer camp?
An online summer coding camp is an online summer camp where students get to learn coding through a range of engaging activities and projects. It is not quite the same as an online coding class. For starters, each summer camp session is typically longer than your average online class duration. So for instance, an online coding class at YoungWonks typically spans 45 minutes, whereas their online coding summer camp sessions last for at least 1.5 hours. This makes them a lot more intense in comparison and typically there’s a lot more homework / home assignments as well.
This is because online summer camps have a slightly different goal in mind: the idea is to pack in more knowledge at one go and revise what one already knows. Which is why more curriculum is covered in a relatively shorter time, as opposed to online coding classes where one slowly but steadily increases one’s knowledge and consolidates one’s grasp over a subject. Online coding summer camps should ideally pave the way for regular online coding classes where one is regularly learning something new.
What to look for in an online coding summer camp?
Since the duration of each session in an online coding summer camp is longer, it is important to ensure that the kids attending the camp are old enough to handle such long hours of learning. This is why at YoungWonks, bootcamps are recommended to older kids (aged 11 and above). Younger kids are likely to get intimidated by them and this may discourage them from pursuing the subject further.
Online coding summer camps also come with different student-teacher ratios. So while some camps pay attention to each student in a 1:1 setup, there are also group summer camps where one instructor teaches a group of students online. With such student-teacher ratios, it is not surprising to see that online group bootcamp sessions last for as long as 3.5 hours even as online one-to-one bootcamp sessions go on for 1.5 hours. Older students typically do better in a group setting and 1:1 is ideal for younger kids.
Benefits of an online coding summer camp
An online - aka virtual - coding summer camp is a digital platform for children to learn coding even as they get to meet and interact with other kids in group bootcamps, all from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Commute time is zilch and participants only need to have computers with video and audio connectivity to get started.
Moreover, typically online bootcamps do not have as many attendees as onsite camps which tend to be packed with people and thus have skewed instructor-to-camper ratios. For example at YoungWonks, the online group bootcamp has a 4:1 student-teacher ratio which makes it an ideal environment for group learning without compromising on individual attention.
Most importantly, online camps help one break geographical boundaries. A small town may not necessarily have summer camps teaching coding. But with summer camps going online, these restrictions no longer come into play. In fact, at YoungWonks, a good 20 minutes from each online group bootcamp session are dedicated to homework review and homework help, along with a 10-minute break and assigned teacher email for homework-support.
Joining an online coding summer camp is also a good way for kids and their parents to assess where the former stand in terms of their knowledge level. This can be factored in to pursue a regular online coding class which will further hone one’s coding skills and ensure that one does not lose touch with the subject.
An online coding summer camp also helps students discover their proclivity for a particular topic within programming. Given the hours one spends in a bootcamp, students get a clearer idea about what they wish to learn further. Thus online coding summer camps are also good opportunities for students to do a deep dive into their favourite subjects.
The fact remains that like any summer camp, online coding summer camps are all about mentally stimulating students and thus keeping them engaged in a productive activity. Honing one’s coding skills - the demand for which continues to rise - only serves to empower the students and make them more confident to take on an increasingly tech-dominated world. Polishing one’s coding skills further encourages creativity and critical thinking.
At classes like YoungWonks, maker culture is instilled and fostered among students through quality guidance and project-based learning imparted at their online coding summer camps.
Last but not the least is that online coding summer camps can be a lot of fun. They allow students to build things from the ground up as part of their projects and homework and be more worldly than ever before.
How to select an online coding summer camp
One of the major criteria parents should bear in mind while looking for a good online coding summer camp is the privacy of their kids. This is a major issue and hence should not be taken lightly. Password protection, class link generation through student portal/ app, instructors keeping tabs on attendees are some ways in which this safety can be ensured.
Apart from this, a good online coding summer camp is also one that believes in all the tenets that are beneficial to the student - as shared in the section above. Making sure that the instructors are approachable goes a long way in fostering a healthy rapport between the former and their students.
The bottomline is that the online summer camps - including those teaching coding - are here to stay, especially thanks to the COVID19 pandemic. Parents should do their research and opt for one that will put their kids’ time to good use.
*Contributors: Written by Vidya Prabhu; Lead image by: Leonel Cruz