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Great Ed Tech Story: K-5 Summer Tech camp changes lives for low SES students


4 week Technology Camp has a great impact on students who had no previous computer access.

The Challenge
Dallas McPheeters was asked to prepare a Summer Technology camp for 430 students in an elementary school near the US/Mexico border. All the school had to offer to facilitate this was a set of eight year old PCs running Windows 2000. McPheeters applied for Title I funds and ultimately secured a new lab with 13 iMacs.

The Approach
The summer lesson plans were rather demanding, and had students using a variety of web tools from Apple's iLife product suite. McPheeters put together a web site where all assignments were posted and instructions were provided.

Students created personal web pages using Apple's iWeb application and used iPhoto to create a visual history project. The next assignment called for using Garageband to create a video blog where they were instructed to “explain your summer school project or what you enjoy best and fear most”. They also had to use iMovie for an assignment, and they wrapped the whole effort up by using iDVD to compile a personal DVD including their projects, as a commemorative take-away. 

Students were clearly engaged and, “rose to the challenge and produced web pages, podcasts, embedded animotos, made and edited movies, and created photo albums with slide shows. Each grade worked according to their themed Unit of Study during their Summer School program.”

The Outcomes
Dallas explained that he has since received reports from participants who went on to Middle School explaining how the tech camp “emboldened them with confidence when facing new technologies, while other students remained apprehensive.”

I thought this quote from a school librarian really helped to illustrate the impact of the Summer Tech camps on the students who participated in it:

“I would definitely suggest that kids who were at tech camp are more tech savvy and are more confident in being “dual platform” users. They can be counted on as leaders to assist other students in using some of the programs. A few have even helped parents navigate during a family program. I've witnessed kids' pride as they show off the iMac lab to visitors and the excited voices they use when describing what they can do. I believe they possess more of an idea of how to create products using technology. They suggest using iMac tools to demonstrate learning.”

This Summer Tech camp clearly benefited these students, who otherwise would not have had access to these types of education technologies. This is a great Ed Tech story, and I'm glad I could share it here.

I recently learned that McPheeters has been the recipient of an Educational Technologist of the Year Award for 2009-2010. Congratulations to Dallas! Hopefully this sort of recognition will help position him (and the school he worked with) to continue their efforts to bring educational technology to the underserved demographic they work with.

To learn more about Dallas and his work, stop by his website.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Great Education Technology Story: CPS Student Response System helps to improve FCAT scores
And the winners are …


  1. Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for your great question. The kids were not chosen. The tech camp was added to the summer school regimen as a new activity. I’m designing one now for another school in Colorado this summer. It’s a nice addition to a summer curriculum and can be used to help families of students as well by involving parents in their own classes. 🙂

    Hope this answers your question!

  2. Hi Elizabeth – Sorry, not sure what happened to your first attempt to ask this question – I do not recall seeing it here. I will forward this question on to Dallas for his response. Thanks.

  3. I have asked this question before but did not receive a response. I know this is a summer camp program. I wanted to know how the students were selected for the program considering it did take place over the summer?


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