Our NIU STEAM professional staff has turned its attention to supporting educators and families through at-home learning opportunities this spring.
2020 has been an eventful and challenging year so far. For now, our NIU STEAM professional staff has turned its attention to supporting educators and families through at-home learning opportunities. We encourage you to take a look at our Learning From Anywhere site to find games, apps, virtual lesson plans, field trips and other educational resources for your family or students.
At this uncertain time, we are suspending summer camp registrations to allow us to concentrate on this important work. As soon as we get the all clear to proceed with camp registrations, we’ll be sure to exclaim it through social media and press outlets! To keep informed on registration availability, follow us on Facebook or sign up for our e-newsletter at https://www.niu.edu/niusteam/.
Our family-friendly automatic payment system is normally set up to process a camp payment at 60 days prior to the start of each camp, which for our June camps, would be mid-April. No charges will be processed until May 15. This should allow all of us a chance to see how our summers are coming together.
We have a summer of STEAM adventures planned which can help your children and teens get into the swing of learning, investigating and creating before school starts back in the fall. It’s also a great way to just plain have fun with new friends who share the same interests.
In the meantime, look for fun ways to help your family learn at https://www.niu.edu/niusteam/. (Click on “At Home Learning Resources.”) We will be posting vetted resources, challenges and activities for families to do together and for teachers to use to engage their students.
NIU STEM Outreach Director
Our team at NIU STEAM is always up for a challenge and we entered this adventure with a few priorities.
- We will not take the face-to-face camps we have planned and squeeze them into an online format. We will create camps to take advantage of this new, online format.
- We want to get kids off-line to work on their challenges or investigations if possible. Of course, that doesn’t work for e-Sports or Video Game Design sessions,but for the others, it’s ideal.
We wanted to offer families the flexibility to work around other activities.
- While each session has some time spent online together(synchronous,) this will be recorded in case a participant misses the live portion or would like to take two of the one-week sessions the same week.
- Participants in the one-week sessions should spend about 3-4 hours a day on any one of the sessions, offering the opportunity to register a participant for two one-week sessions if that works.
- We will accept campers older than the stated range and will have advanced challenges for the older participants.
- If you register younger campers, please be prepared to do the activities with your child.
- Make it a family adventure. There is a $10 discount for all registrations beyond the first for a family registering together, whether it’s a second camp session for the same child or two children registering for the same or different camp sessions.
What might a typical virtual camp experience be like?
Each session is unique, as is each camper’s response to the challenges and investigations, so each family’s experience will be different. The camp sessions fall into three categories in terms of daily or weekly expectations, so we can give you an idea of what to expect for each.
- The four-week high school sessions will be more like a college online course experience: meeting online with instructors a few times per week, working on projects alone and/or in groups with other participants, meeting with professionals in the field, and presenting your work in an online portfolio or presentation.
- The one-week digital camps, Video Game Design and E-Sports, will primarily be online for four hours per day, beginning at noon. Experts will lead lessons and be available to coach students throughout that time. These sessions are limited to 10 participants each to allow for that personal coaching.
- The other one-week sessions will have a short(about 30 minutes) live session each morning at 9 a.m. that will be recorded to both accommodate those wishing to review the presentation and those taking two sessions that week. Projects will increase in complexity throughout the week and a final project will become part of an online gallery for the camp. There will be a pre-recorded skill building,challenge or investigation video each day. The campers will have access to a monitored chat room and the video conferencing “room” for the morning to work with each other or ask the instructors questions. There will also be scheduled group chat and office hours in the afternoon for flexibility. Each day the students will submit some form of work for the day, a photo or video of a project, writing sample, or photos they are editing, depending on the camp.
WRITTEN BY:Pati Sievert