iTeams Science and Technology Camp comes to Horry County

Dozens of Horry County middle school students are wrapping up a four-day week camp focused on science and technology. | Source: MGN Online
Dozens of Horry County middle school students are wrapping up a four-day week camp focused on science and technology. | Source: MGN Online

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Dozens of Horry County middle school students are wrapping up a four-day week camp focused on science and technology.

Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship among middle-schoolers or iTeams started in collaboration with Google six years ago in Berkely County.

Since then, the outreach department at the Governor's School for Science and Technology, the group that organizes the free camp, has expanded the program to 10 different counties.   This is the first year the program has come to Horry county.

The purpose is to inspire students to choose careers in science and technology.

Educators say the Palmetto State is falling behind in the field.

"We don't have a ready workforce ready with those skills, so we are working with them on the 6th, 7th and 8th grade level to prepare them, get their interest up and have them ready to take those jobs," said Sonja Taylor, the diversity recruitment manager for the program.

The students had to apply for the camp by writing essays and getting referrals, and they're learning cutting edge technology.

One group is creating a video game using Alice 3D software.

"My game is about this person that runs away from home and he has to get back but has to get through this maze," said 8th grade student, Jason Turrentine.

Inside another classroom, students are developing mobile applications using App Inventor with the goal of using the app on Android or iPhone devices.

Some have said it isn't easy.

"We've been stuck on this app for a few days, we've made some progress but it's taken a while and it's very frustrating," said 7th grade student, Jack Calhoun.

A third group is using an MIT invention kit to create circuit boards and use software to create a computerized interactive object.

"To see them get this engaged with it, where as in a the typical school year they wouldn't, is really rewarding," said Ian Reddout, an instructor with the program.

While most students already have a knack for the field, educators say it was important that not every student selected for the program was at the top of their class.

"We've seen students come to iTeams in the past that might have been getting Cs, but they go from that level to a grade higher because they are actually learning processing skills," said Taylor.

The camp is just a glimpse at the tech field, but for the young minds, it's a foundation for the future.

On Thursday, iTeams ends with a presentation where students will show off what they've learned, in the auditorium at 2 p.m.

The showcase is open to the public.

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