During the week of June 7 - 11, 2010 the CBA’s Center for Information Technologies and eBusiness (CITe), in conjunction with Project Grad Akron, provided a dynamic and enjoyable educational experience for 27 Buchtel High School students at IT Career Camp.
The weeklong day camp provided the students with a glimpse into the exciting world of information technology through a variety of presentations and hands-on activities.
After warm welcomes from CBA’s Interim Dean, Ravi Krovi, and Dr. Vijay, Director of CITe, the students were instructed on how to care for the laptop computers they would use throughout the week by Mary Hardin, CBA’s Director of Technology. Hardin also provided useful tips, such as placing the computer in a bag of rice to absorb moisture in the event of an accidental liquid spill.
Next, Herb Shilling arrived with his crew from NASA and set up an exercise in which the students built, programmed and raced a robot. The wheeled robot, a Lego Mindstorm NXT, had to be programmed so that a laser sensor could follow a black curved line on a racecourse. The challenge was the trade-off between the robot’s speed and its accuracy following the line. In the end, a few of the students successfully competed in a race.
Dr. Bill McHenry, associate professor of management, began the second day’s session with an interesting presentation on computer viruses, hacking, and security. He conducted the presentation as a real life college lecture so that the students could obtain a feel for life in a college classroom environment.
Tom Headman of Antares Solutions continued the discussion by presenting a power point presentation on computer security.
In the afternoon, the students went on a field trip to the J. M. Smucker Company. They enjoyed an outstanding lunch and presentation hosted by Kathy Peterman who taught them about business processes by assembling them in teams to develop the process for assembling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This event, which combined a high-energy turbocharged learning environment with a real life process application, was a huge hit with the students.
Nancy Ramsey and Rich Seymore of Microsoft kicked off Wednesday’s activities by providing a demonstration of the new Photosynth program used in creating panoramic photos. The students took pictures around the Polsky building and then created their own panoramic photos using this exciting and innovative new tool.
The afternoon activities included a working hands-on session hosted by Scott Jobe of VM Ware who showed the students how to create a G-mail account and use Google docs. The students created a Google document and then shared it with Jobe to help them understand document sharing and its benefits as a collaboration tool. Many of the students expressed interest in using this feature for group exercises and projects.
On Thursday, Jess Pomfret, the CBA’s Web graduate assistant, taught the students to develop their own web pages using Google. They created their own custom web pages that can be accessed on the Internet.
The students also learned about different IT career opportunities from a team of IT staff from The University of Akron. Recent CBA grad, Anthony Jakab of the Diebold Corporation, also provided the students with a glimpse of the exciting life of an IT employee in a big company.
Following, the students went on a field trip to the Akron Global Business Accelerator where they visited two companies, Knotice and Summit Data Systems. They had the opportunity to speak with the staff and learn about the companies. Knotice performs internet and cell phone text message marketing for its customers and Summit Data Systems designs transmitter radios for handheld wireless devices.
Friday, the final day of the camp, began with the students developing PowerPoint presentations to be presented to the CITe Advisory Board in the afternoon. Working in teams, they consulted their notes and outlined the high points of the week’s activities and their learning experiences.
Later, Susan Lowry of Square One Consulting conducted an interactive discussion about social media. Lowry explained the “dos and don’ts” of common social media websites such as FaceBook. She showed informative video and presented real life scenarios about social media, data mining and theft and made sure the students understood that once they publish information on FaceBook, they no longer own that information.
During the discussion, one of the students’ counselors described an identity theft issue he currently faces to highlight the importance of privacy settings and concealing important data.
In the afternoon, the students used Clickers to take a quiz on the various topics they learned during the week. Then they presented their learning experiences over the week by using the PowerPoint slides created earlier in the day.
The event culminated with a presentation to each student of the laptop computer they had used during the camp. Initial shock and disbelief among the students gave way to tears of joy and celebration as they absorbed the magnitude of the gift.
IT Career Camp was an outstanding event sure to provide lasting memories for both the students and the staff participants.