ONE-DAY POP-UP EVENT
Chromeworks is excited to announce a special spring break sneak preview of the new summer camp we're planning in the heart of Westboro. The one-day event is slated for Monday March 16 at our new facility at 10 Hamilton Ave, N., behind the Parkdale Market.
Following in the tradition of our hugely popular summer programs at the Glebe Community Centre, the new Chromeworks Learning Lab will be more clubhouse than camp, a place where kids aged 8 and up can work and collaborate on projects of their own choosing. There's no set curriculum and no mandatory classroom learning in this open-ended technology program.
The upper floor of our compact new facility will function as a technology training centre, offering new workshops every hour that will give kids the basic skills they need to launch their own projects in coding, filmmaking, stop-motion animation, traditional animation, computer imaging, digital art, digital storytelling and more. Armed with their new learning, students will move to the downstairs workshop area, where they'll be encouraged to apply their new learning to creative projects of their own choosing. Our team of veteran technology educators will be available throughout the day to troubleshoot tech glitches and offer tips to take student work to the next level.
Creativity is serious business
Chromeworks programs are built on the fundamental belief that every child can be a willing and active learner if they're given proper tools, training and the autonomy to pursue their own unique passions. We believe there's a huge difference between passively watching content and making content; between playing other peoples' games and making your own. That's why our only strict rule is that our students must be creators, not consumers of technology. Unless used in the context of learning, we strictly forbid access to gaming, social media, YouTube and all the other digital distractions that occasionally lure all of us away from the serious work of being creative. We believe that it's only when kids are deprived of easy opportunities for fun that they'll embrace the "hard fun" of creating in a digital environment.
We are autism friendly
Chromeworks is the proud sponsor of Pico's Place, a coding and computing club especially for children on the autism spectrum, and we expect many of our members will be attending this program. We believe children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are as capable as other children of benefiting from the rich creative potential of computer technology. We're influenced by a growing body of evidence that children with ASD may in fact hold advantages over their neurotypical peers in the procedural, rules-based world of computer coding.
Kids on the spectrum have a natural affinity for technology, says camp director and Chromeworks founder Andrew Tomec. "In my years of teaching summer tech programs, I can't recall a single camp that didn't include at least one child on the spectrum. Unfortunately their camp experience wasn't always a positive one."
Mr. T (as the kids affectionately know him) says he's building his summer program from the ground up to resolve some of the sources of conflict that arise when kids on the spectrum are forced into uncomfortable social interactions at camp. Students who want to work independently will never be forced to share equipment, or sit still in a classroom, and every child will have a dedicated Chromebook computer to work with for the entire day. Our program won't include mandatory team sports or competitive gym activities which can often be troubling for children with ASD, although we'll strive to integrate regular body breaks and fun kinesthetic activities into the daily routine. We'll also offer a quiet corner that students can retreat to if the day gets overwhelming.
"Having said that, we're not billing this as an autism program," says Mr. T. "Our camps always feature a diverse mix of children, and we believe we'll be able to accommodate boys and girls of every stripe."