Part of digitalswitzerland’s nextgeneration initiative,TEENformatiCAMP is one of the few opportunities in Ticino to spend the summertime coding. The one-week session of TEENformatiCAMP in Manno (TI) last summer was a huge success and shows that there is a need to provide youngsters with opportunities to learn more about computers and coding. The purpose of the camp is to introduce and excite young people to the world of computer science in a simple, fun and constructive way. Some 25 youngsters (6 girls and 19 boys) attended the week, with great enthusiasm and interest.

Learnings progress throughout the week

“We arrived at the course without knowing what was waiting for us. Almost nobody knew the others, but already after lunch the atmosphere had changed. First of all, we heard a presentation on computer security, which we went into in depth in the afternoon thanks to some interesting exercises on cryptography and steganography. We also tried hacking, listening to conversations about VoIP,” says Aurora, one of the six girls present.

The second day was devoted to the various parts of a computer, such as the motherboard, the processor, the RAM, and to the binary language of computers. “Then we started a task in groups of 5: within the group we divided the roles, each had to perform a task that normally performs the computer, simulating the work of the CPU. We finished and the final code was right! In the afternoon, we did some programming. The task was to create and edit a web page with the html language. I had fun, even if you had to think a lot and things didn’t always come out right… Even today, of course, I liked it very much, almost more than yesterday, because I love programming and then I had never done such activities. Long live TEENformatiCAMP! “ says Luisa.

A lot of fun too

The third day was devoted to graphics, a topic closely related to the binary system and the hexadecimal system. The youngsters learned to use a programme called GIMP, which enables the editing of photos in various ways and the creation of animated GIFs. The last two days were devoted to programming itself, and to robotics using Lego Mindstorms. This generated a lot of enthusiasm: “It was an experience I really enjoyed,” writes Andreas, sad that the short week was already ending.

Enthusiastic trainers

The camp is organised by SUPSI team Michela Papandrea, Sandra Bernaschina, Amos Brocco, and has been running for seven years.