How to choose the best online STEM camp
Whether your traditional summer camp program was cancelled this year or you are looking for a fun online option, registration is now open for most STEM summer camps!
As more and more providers turn to online options, it is important to know what to look for in choosing an online STEM summer camp. Here are our best tips from seasoned STEM educators:
What to Look for in an Online STEM Camp:
- Clear & Concise: If your inbox is anything like mine, you are overloaded with potential summer camps and enrichment opportunities for your student. The easiest way to sort through it all is from the organization’s summer camp page. Is it immediately clear what your student will do? Can you call and talk to a live person? If the organization’s landing page is unclear, chances are the camp itself will be difficult for your student to navigate. In this case, we encourage you to judge the book by its cover!
- Mix of online and offline activities: While technology can provide tremendously engaging experiences that no teacher physically can, it should not be the exclusive focus of the camp. The best camps will provide high-tech, visually appealing content to engage your students, but the true learning and DOING should occur offline. While technology is the cornerstone of most students’ lives these days, the need remains for students to physically apply what they have learned in the real world. This could be something as simple as connecting with a local mentor, or applying newly developed coding skills to an introductory robotics device. Even if the camp is online, learning by DOING (not just zooming) is still a must.
- Next steps provided: The overarching goal of any enrichment experience, including summer camps, is to pique students’ interest, helping them find and develop passions they may or may not have realized they had. Thus, all good online summer camps should provide a ‘next step’ for interested students. For example, say Patty absolutely loved the STEAM Fashion Design Challenge within your summer camp. It should be made explicitly clear to her what some ‘next steps’ are so she can continue to develop her talents. Next steps in this example could include a list of local fashion designers to reach out to, and/or fashion design career exploration resources. A simple ‘if you liked this….than….’ list at the end of each camp is all that is needed. For help here, be sure to check out our Career In STEM Explorer – 100+ online STEM activities, all directly connected to STEM careers.
learning by DOING (not just zooming) is still a must
Want to see our picks for the best STEM summer camp options? CLICK HERE!