In the autumn of 2016 we launched an experimental series of programs with the name of TechCamp, which we will present here below.
The education of computer science receives little attention: only some programming skills at most are taught in school and only algorithms appear during competitions.
Though these are undoubtedly important it is often much more important to learn what you should put into code and how to implement it. These originate from considerations in software engineering, product design, project management and even entrepreneurship. There is no framework of education – academic or other – for these latter disciplines.
The name of the first group is “Almásderes,” keeping the technological tradition of naming the first “version” with the first letter of the Alphabet. The first group received 31 applications for the age group of 9th to 11th grade – mostly but not only composed of math-camp participants – surpassing the originally planned 15. Of these, in the end we admitted 19 students.
The main objective of the students during the course of the year was to plan and implement a project by themselves. The students were allowed a free hand in designing and choosing their projects, thus being able to think freely and creatively, choosing a topic which they are really interested in. It was important in this camp as well, that the projects be useful: either for the creator of their environment. Through the design and implementation of these projects, the participants will acquire the way of thinking necessary for becoming efficient and independent creators, while also developing the basics of software engineering and project management.
What do the events look like?
Opening weekend camp. The aim of the camp is that everyone choose a project according to their interests. Already in the camps they start working on their solutions with the guidance of mentors.
Everyone is working on a different project (either individually or in pairs,) with different tools. therefore everyone learns a different technology. Mentors with different areas of expertise help the students in implementing their ideas.
Weekday activities. The students primarily work on their projects at home with the distant supervision of mentors. However, the students have the opportunity to personally meet their mentors and listen to interesting lectures during the year at weekday programs. These events are organized on a monthly basis at a date chosen by the group members.
Closing weekend camp. At the end of the school year, which is also the deadline to complete each individual project, we organize another weekend camp, where everyone presents their project.
Apart from the camp leaders (Miklós Danka and Gábor Szűcs,) these mentors also play an important role in the camps: Ildikó Czeller, Géza Csenger, András Eisenberger, Péter Juhász and László Nikházy.
The mentors are those who help in the completion of the projects and to whom students can turn to with technological or design problems.