At ECSU, Summer Camps Go Virtual
Middle school summer camp participants share their projects online using Zoom. Due to COVID-19 precautions, this year’s ECSU Summer Academies are all virtual and going very well, according to Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the School of Science, Aviation, Health and Technology.
It’s a different time for kids who look forward to summer camp. Some camps have been cancelled and others, such as Elizabeth City State University’s programs, have gone virtual.
Each summer, the faculty and staff at ECSU bring school-age kids on campus to learn about STEM careers and do some hands-on work with robotics or electronics through the ECSU Summer Academies. According to Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the School of Science, Aviation, Health and Technology, the kids and instructors are working online, and there’s no lack of hands-on activities to aid their summertime education.
“Students were able to pick up the project kits to work on them at home,” said Dr. Rawat.
Each day the summer program participants are able to go online, using Zoom to participate in live, virtual programs to learn about their various interests, and they also use Google Classroom to communicate with faculty, sending questions and submitting projects, said Dr. Rawat.
“I am finding the virtual sessions to be more engaging,” he said. “We are getting students who post stuff late at night. They’re working on projects through the night.”
Three K-12 programs are funded through NASA and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Each program has 20-25 participants attending one-week sessions.
This week, July 6-10, middle school students, in participation with the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, are working on projects.
During the week of July 13-17, area high school students will have a session in partnership with the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advance Technologies, or NEAAAT.
During the week of July 20-24, the session will return for middle school students, also in partnership with NEAAAT.
From July 13-Aug. 3, ECSU’s annual Summer Transportation Institute for High School, funded through the Federal Highway Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will also go virtual. The aim of this program is to introduce high school students to transportation-related careers.
The themes for the summer programs, says Dr. Rawat, are electronics, robotics, engineering design, computer programming, and project-based learning. Other activities include guest speakers and virtual field trips.
Students will also be provided information related to keeping safe during COVID-19.
It is due to COVID-19 that ECSU’s summer programs went to a virtual platform. Dr. Rawat says that once university faculty and staff learned they would all be working remotely, they began planning for the summer academies.
“It’s all going very well,” he said of the programs. “The reason is, we started planning as soon as we knew there was a possibility that we would go remote.”
Over the course of two months this past spring, Dr. Rawat and his team planned each day of the academies to give the students the maximum benefit of the programs.