Clearly Innovative and Startup Middle School wrapped up the first Startup Summer Institute a few weeks ago with great success. Week one was sort of the feeling out period. The campers got to know each other and also got their feet wet with Fluid UI (a useful design tool used to design a user interface) & Codiqa (a powerful builder for creating cross-platform HTML5 mobile apps and websites). Near the end of the first week, the staff felt they were ready to get their hands dirty and make some decent progress on their apps.
In week two, the campers shared the solutions they’d conceived & prototyped in Fluid UI. Clearly Innovative staff offered some input to help round out their vision and give them some direction in terms of feasibility and presentation. The students also enjoyed a number of guest speakers who talked about a range of things from entrepreneurship to cloud computing to business development through social media.
We were mindful of the fact that the campers were on vacation and didn’t want to put them back into ‘school-mode.’ Doing this might have caused them to shutdown creatively and just go through the motions to get by, so we structured the lesson plans to be less linear and evaluated the campers with mobile-themed trivia games rather than stringent tests. Additionally, there was a generous helping of hands-on time to help drive certain points home and give each camper the attention (s)he needs.
One of Clearly Innovative’s staff members, David Plummer was a volunteer instructor for the camp and remarked that “Overall, I’m satisfied with the progress the kids have made in just two weeks. They showed a genuine enthusiasm for mobile technologies and a few of the outliers managed to crank out some pretty great prototypes. If we haven’t sparked an interest in mobile technologies, I’d say we’ve at least fed a flame.”
At the end of the camp, students presented their mobile app concepts and Global Sleepover interactive stories to the entire staff and invited family members and friends.