RU Connected

RU Connected

The 2013 RU Connected technology camp consists of 8 full days of activities (9am to 2:30pm) spread over a three-week period, starting Wednesday June 26th and culminating on Tuesday July 9th with an Open House to celebrate campers’ learning and hard work. The camp will be held in a classroom space at the Northwest Activities Center on Meyers Road in Detroit, Michigan where Racquet Up Detroit (RUD) has its headquarters. The camp will utilize equipment donated to RUD over the past two years: 14 outdated Dell laptops, a wireless router, a digital projector, and assorted classroom supplies. The Northwest Activities Center is conveniently located for many attendees who live within walking distance or just a short bus or car ride away.

Each day, campers engage in a variety of hands-on activities around the theme of “Deception: Seeking and Speaking the Truth.” These activities will tend to blend the following ingredients: (a) activation and sharing of prior knowledge about a given topic (e.g., advertising, propaganda); (b) online research to find additional information and/or “cases” for the group to discuss and analyze together; (c) time to explore and “play” with a free web tool (e.g., CiteLighter, Screencast-O-Matic, Pixlr); (d) time to remix or create new content to deepen exploration of the day’s topic (e.g., editing a digital photo to deepen discussion about the power of advertisement images); and (e) time to reflect on the day’s activities and articulate emerging insights and new knowledge.

Knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be fully engaged in camp activities, scaffolding group conversations and learning throughout the day. This summer RU Connected will have two primary instructors, two instructional assistants, and two education consultants. Campers will thus be surrounded by positive, knowledgeable mentors eager to answer questions, help solve technology glitches, provide encouragement, and stimulate conversation.

Besides acquiring new knowledge and strategies for using the web in discerning and responsible ways (e.g., learning strategies to evaluate the trustworthiness of unfamiliar websites), campers will tackle two major projects. In Week #1, after studying a number of hoax websites, they will join with a partner and construct a hoax website of their own on a topic of their choosing. In Week #2, they will create publicity materials for a local cause or organization they have researched and consider worthy of their support. Both of these projects will involve applying the skills, strategies, and resources campers have explored starting on Day #1 of the camp.

Two other important features of the RU Connected camp are (a) using video conferencing during lunchtime every day to meet a member of the community whose work connects with the camp’s theme (e.g. a news reporter, a museum curator who does research on forgeries) and (b) training campers to become Tech Mentors (TMs) to their peers for the next school year. Campers who attend all 8 days of the camp and complete all the camp’s projects and daily “challenges” will earn their badge as an official TM for 2013-14.

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