This summer, The DoSeum will continue to combat summer slide, the loss of learning over summer vacation, by creating brand new learning opportunities for kids and families with its new summer learning initiative, Summer of Tech. In addition to the opening of The DoSeum’s summer exhibit, digiPlaySpace, Summer of Tech includes a summer-long Kids Coding Challenge and Tech Fair to include a Tech Safety Lecture Series for parents and caregivers.
DigiPlaySpace opens on June 3, launching along with the Kids Coding Challenge. The exhibit introduces kids to the technology of the future, with a variety of exhibit platforms developed both by local and international tech innovators. Visitors can race through a virtual world, create a large-scale painting with their movements alone, and pop n’ lock with stop-motion animation.
Current exhibits at The DoSeum will also be transformed by Summer of Tech, with Puppet Parade becoming an interactive digital aquarium and Baxter the Robot learning a whole new series of commands. By exploring the world of digiPlaySpace, visitors will be able to see coding and programming in action in fun and interactive ways.
“digiPlaySpace exposes kids to some of the leading interactive media artists and inspires them with immersive media, so they can take this and produce a tech creation of their own,” said Meredith Doby, exhibits director at The DoSeum.
Familiarity with code and the problem solving skills that accompany it are increasingly critical to children’s educational skillset, as well as increasingly desirable for future career paths. To address this need, The DoSeum, in partnership with Youth Code Jam, developed the Kids Coding Challenge. The program consists of three levels, each with challenges from five different categories—fundamentals, robots, game design, artificial intelligence, and digital citizenship. For each challenge a child completes, they’ll receive an interactive GIF of Code-E and friends, Summer of Tech’s robot mascot.
“By introducing kids to coding, The DoSeum serves an important role in providing kids with the resources and opportunities to develop STEM skills that prepare them for the future, while also combatting learning loss during the summer,” said Chris Navarro, the outreach and public programs director at The DoSeum, who is responsible for partnering with different community organizations to introduce kids around the city to coding.
Even without access to a computer, kids will be able to participate by completing offline challenges that still teach them the basic principles of coding and programming. The DoSeum will also provide computer access through the Computer Help Lab, which will be located next to Spy Academy, and can be accessed during Free Family Nights.
On Aug. 12, visitors can come back to The DoSeum to interact with some of the developers of digiPlaySpace, as well as other local figures in the tech industry. Alongside them, selected participants in the kids coding challenge will display their products from completed challenges.
During the Tech Fair, The DoSeum will also welcome two guest speakers to present to parents and caregivers on kids, tech, and safety in the digital age. These speakers will discuss best practices for using technology and interacting with the online community, and how to instill safety practices in kids.
“Through digiPlaySpace, kids will be able to see all of the creativity and technology of coding coming to life, while through the kids coding challenge and our summer camps, they’ll see how those innovations are made possible, and become more equipped with foundational skills to code or otherwise problem solve, in turn igniting their interest in new areas of STEM and the arts,” said DoSeum Vice President of Education Ryan Smith.
“We hope to introduce kids to a variety of new and existing technologies,” Smith said, “and provide opportunities for them to interact with technology as both users and as producers who use their own creativity and skills to create and problem solve.”