Beaufort County middle school students will swap the traditional arts and crafts for developing mobile apps, as summer camp goes high-tech.
The S.C. Governor's School for Science and Mathematics will host a free Innovation Technology & Entrepreneurship Among Middle Schoolers (iTEAMS) camp June 24-27 at Robert Smalls Middle School for rising seventh- and eighth-graders interested in technology.
The day camp aims to inspire students to pursue careers in computer science, technology, engineering and business through hands-on, team-based projects.
Google partnered with the Governor's School in 2009 to host the free day camp in Berkeley County and has expanded to other districts across the state. This is the first year the camp will be offered in Beaufort County.
District teachers hired and trained by the governor's school will instruct students how to use different software and technology to complete three challenges, said camp coordinator Brigitte Barnett.
The first requires students to develop a video game instructing users on the basics of cyber security -- from how to protect their personal information online to identifying scams.
"Students are constantly online and often don't realize how vulnerable they are to cyber criminals," Barnett said. "This gets them thinking about cyber security and cyber ethics in a fun, creative way."
The second challenge requires students to develop a mobile app for health concerns -- from calorie counters to a step-by-step first aid guide.
For example, a group of students last year developed an app to help snake-bite victims identify the type of snake that bit them and whether it was venomous. If venomous, the app automatically calls 911, Barnett said.
The final task is to create a business plan for a tech startup -- such as a carpool or ride-share website -- and produce a commercial advertising the business.
Beaufort County School District science coordinator Peter Grabowski said the day camp is the latest in a growing effort locally and nationally to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and technological skills for the future workforce.
"We see it as a great learning experience that may catapult them into a career in science, technology and engineering," Grabowski said.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.