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Birmingham Open Media coding summer camp aims to inspire next generation of inventors

Seven to 11-year-olds will learn how to solder, build and program objects that respond to commands, take part in a cretinous creature jamboree and race in a robot rally

Part of the Birmingham Open Media exhibition space

Birmingham’s first summer camp aimed at inspiring the next generation of digital coders by focusing on science and technology is being held in August.

Budding inventors can create their own robot and hone their programming skills at the summer camp, hosted by Birmingham Open Media (BOM), based on Dudley Street in the city centre.

Led by an expert team of creative technologists, artists and science educators, the summer camp is Birmingham’s first to focus on the key STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).

Seven to 11-year-olds will learn how to solder, build and program objects that respond to commands, take part in a cretinous creature jamboree and race in a robot rally. The young inventors will take home their creations at the end of the week.

BOM is a creative collaborative workspace for art, technology and science, and director Karen Newman believes the summer camp is helping to tackle a digital skills gap in schools.

“The new national curriculum for computing, which came into force last year for primary years and up, has highlighted a real issue with a digital skills gap in many schools,” she said. “Teachers often aren’t equipped with the knowledge of how to code and how to teach this in a fun and creative way.

“One of our ambitions for the summer camp is to work actively with teachers to up-skill in coding and other creative tech, such as Raspberry Pis, so they can get involved with the summer camp and then take these skills back into the classroom.

“We’re partnering with F A M A L A N, a new initiative set up by BOM fellow and creative producer Amy Martin exploring parenting and play in the 21st century, and working with an amazing collective of creative technologists.”

The camp takes place between August 24-28. Places cost £100 per child and a limited number of bursary places will be available to families with low income.

“We’re especially keen to reach children with little digital engagement and are offering the five bursary places to families with low income,” added Ms Newman.

“We’re also running two days of free drop-in workshops the week before summer camp, working with the Open Community Lab to re-mix traditional children’s games using digital tech.

“There is great momentum to build something really exciting here that corresponds to Birmingham’s history as the UK’s leading centre for innovation and creativity, and the city’s strengths in Science, Technology, Engineering and the Arts.”

Workshop facilitators are expert creative technologists who are fully DBS checked and teach within schools across the city.

For details email Amy Martin at education@bom.org.uk or visit www.bom.org.uk/event/summer-camp/

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