Full Sail Labs: The Funnest/Hardest 5-Years Teaching Compressed into A Couple Summers
The Brain-child of Full Sail University’s Luis Garcia, Full Sail Labs was commissioned to give it’s 7- to 12-year-old campers an intense immersion into hands-on learning of robotics, movie making, digital music and game programming. The four subjects were offered one week after the next and parents signed up their campers based on interest. One camper went to all four camps… twice. Besides the challenge of guiding campers through four diverse subject areas week after week, Mr. Garcia wanted to make sure that everything that we used in our curriculum was something that an interested parent could get at the local Best Buy or Apple retail outlet without having to mortgage one’s home. I had the honor of contributing to this project over the course of two summers and one year of after-school courses both at Full Sail Labs beautiful main campus location and at one remote school.
I’ve spent the bulk of my 21-year teaching career on the cutting edge developing curriculum or using technology in a way that none of my coworkers were doing. You’d think that would have prepared me to work in Full Sail Lab’s week-long 8-hours-a-day summer camps that focused in on filmmaking, Scratch programming, robotics and digital music creation. The biggest challenge wasn’t necessarily the technology, but in managing twenty-plus seven- to 11-year-olds AND any technology problem that would always crop-up. As an educator it was unbelievably fun, but I’ve never been so exhausted at the end of every day.
One week we would be at Full Sail’s backlot shooting a student authored short movie about the 101st Airborne’s defense of Bastogne in WWII, the next week we might be writing Scratch code to define Gravity for a game character, the next week programming the Dash robot to navigate a maze and the next week playing bucket drums. One of my coworkers had never worked in an educational environment and I told him that he had just experienced five-years worth of facilitating learning, managing students/campers and troubleshooting technology. I learned so much and really tested my theories about learning when working at Full Sail Labs.
Shifting gears in the summer of 2014 to create and facilitate 8-hours a day/5-days a week summer camps for 7- to 12-years was an incredible challenge and incredible fun.
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