I spent the day today at Brightworks in San Francisco. For those not familiar with this crazy school or the crazy man behind it, Gever Tulley is responsible for Tinkering School and for inspiring children at his camps over the other side of the Atlantic. If there's one thing worth watching of his, it's "Five dangerous things you should let your kids do."
"I started at Tech Camp firstly as a camper in 2008. As a child at the time I loved creating small robots and coding, but my parents had struggled to find anywhere I could work on advanced projects like this outside the home until they discovered Tech Camp."
Staff member and former Tech Camp student Harry Thorpe recounts his story…
"At my first camp there were all sorts of exciting activities like building rockets, robots and electronic circuits. They were fun but also gave me new and exciting information about technology and expert advice from tutors that I could never have accessed at school. Tech Camp provides a unique dynamic between the staff and the students; it's great for younger campers to be around much more experienced older camper and tutors who can provide all sorts of expert advice and help.
I was always good with practical electronics and by the next year I was invited to help as an assistant. After helping at a couple of camps I went on to achieve a top design scholarship to Bradfield College. By then I was working at Tech Camp as a tutor and learnt all sorts of skills both in teaching and technology. Shortly after I was also asked to start teaching programming at Bradfield College as an extra-curricular activity whilst I was still a student.
Tech Camp provided me with the inspiration to create all sorts of projects of my own as well. One of my most recent creations is a large CNC router (a robot to carve 3D shapes out of materials like wood and aluminium). I am now reading Robotics at the University of Reading and whilst still only in first year have already been offered a job opportunity in Hong Kong.
To say Tech Camp was a vital part of my development would be a huge understatement. Even now that there are other camps around teaching technology the others all concentrate on purely computer-based tasks that largely involve sitting in front of a computer all day. Tech Camp is still the only place where people who likes taking things apart to see how they work are truly immersed in a creative hands-on experience. Almost all of Tech Camps courses concentrate on physically building things like rockets and robots that can be taken home so the experience continues long after camp finishes.
As a former student and current course leader I would urge anyone considering a place or thinking about sending their son or daughter to try Tech Camp for themselves."