The iD Tech camps at Emory bring in students aged 7 to 17 to learn computer programming and even make their own video games and films. Students from across Georgia spend a week on campus attending the camps, according to Jared Hulet, iD Tech camp assistant director.
“The camp itself is a pretty awesome place,” said Hulet. “This is my seventh summer working with the camps. They have these camps at 80 universities across the United States, so it’s available wherever you’re located. We do classes in just about everything. There’s programing, robotics, Web design, game design and level design. It’s a good experience for anyone interested in technology.”
The camp’s website said it guarantees a maximum of eight students per instructor.
This week, 112 kids are attending the camp, some for their second or third time. One local student is east Cobb’s Anthony Carpenetti, a rising eighth-grader at Dickerson Middle School working on his own role-playing game.
“I’m making a text-based RPG using (a computer programming language called) Java at camp,” Carpenetti said. “I’m nearly done; I just have to make a combat system.”
For those that don’t know, Carpenetti described a typical role-playing game.
“It’s a game where your character can level up, and there’s character progression,” he said. “I found them on the Internet when I was a little kid. I found them, and my mom found this camp. I got to wanting to make my own because I’d played them for a significant part of my life so far.”
Carpenetti also designs his own websites using computer code and said he’s learned a lot about coding during his time at the camp. However, he sees his future in circuit boards rather than games.
“I’ll probably work in computer hardware,” Carpenetti said. “It pays better.”
Zack Hixon is an east Cobb student gearing up for his freshman year at Walton High School. He’s in the camp’s robotics engineering program.
At camp, Hixon is making robots that fight each other.
“I built two battle bots,” he said. “They fight each other in an arena. … The rules we set were you win by either pushing the other robot out of the arena or rendering it immobile, like by flipping it over.”
Hixon joined his school’s robotics club in the fifth grade and entered a competition. His school didn’t win, but Hixon decided he was hooked.
While robotics is fun, he sees himself elsewhere as an adult.
“That would be an interesting career, but I’m more of a computer guy,” Hixon said.
He said the people are what make iD Tech camp fun.
“The people are awesome; the counselors are awesome,” he said. “The food is good. I recommend this camp to all people, even if you’re not really interested in this stuff. It’s a cool learning experience.”
Another Cobb camper is James Moore, a rising seventh-grader at Dickerson Middle. He’s learning Java and another computer code called Scratch this week.
“I’ve learned the basics of programming, and I’ve learned all about Scratch and how that works,” Moore said. “Today, we started learning about Java. It was really interesting.”
Moore said he’s not sure if computer programming is in his future.
“There are a lot of paths I haven’t crossed yet,” Moore said.
He also highly recommended the camp.
“The counselors and teachers have been great,” Moore said. “I plan to go back next year.”
The camps run from the first week of June through the end of July, according to Hulet. Hulet gave credit to iD Tech’s counselors, who he said are well-trained to impart their knowledge on others.
“Our main goal is to spread technology awareness,” Hulet said. “By 2020, there will be over a million computer science jobs that go unfilled because not enough college students are graduating. We’re trying to spread awareness about it and get people interested in the stuff that is out there.”