Drexel Computing Academy Inspires and Educates High School Students
Many may not consider computing a creative endeavor. Tell that to the developers of Super Mega Fluffy Pets 2000 BC v. 4.0 Beta (American Release). For these students, who are nearing the end of their five-week stay at Drexel University Computing Academy (DUCA), creativity and computing go hand-in-hand.
Super Mega Fluffy Pets 2000 BC v. 4.0 Beta (American Release) is the name of an augmented reality program being developed by a group of six DUCA students. It is one of five independent team projects in the works by DUCA students. Other groups are developing iPhone applications, a video game, and an online business. These independent team projects represent the culmination of everything students have learned during DUCA.
Throughout the program, students have attended lectures and labs taught by Drexel faculty, which expose them to all computing majors offered at the University, including information systems, information technology, software engineering, computer science, digital media, computer engineering, and management information systems. Through independent team projects, students take the knowledge they gained in classes and develop computing applications or projects of their choice, which are presented at the program’s closing ceremonies.
“The independent team projects provide students with the opportunity to use what they’ve learned during the program in exciting and creative ways,” says DUCA Executive Director Brenda Sheridan. “Our students are ambitious and intelligent, and these projects really showcase what they are capable of.”
During the five-week, residential program, students share an authentic college experience. Along with taking classes from Drexel faculty and participating in interactive projects and labs, students live in University residence halls, eat at University dining facilities, explore Philadelphia, and make new friends.
“I have absolutely loved DUCA,” says student Ann Trachte. “It has been a great learning experience, both socially and academically.”
DUCA is co-sponsored by The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology and Drexel University’s Department of Computer Science. The program receives additional academic support from other colleges within Drexel University, including the College of Engineering, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, and Bennett S. LeBow College of Business. The tuition-based program is an outgrowth of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Information, Society, and Technology (PGSIST), which was hosted at Drexel from 1998 through 2008, and was eliminated in 2009 due to state budget cuts. DUCA was developed as an alternative program to meet the demand for a quality summer educational experience for college-bound high school sophomores and juniors.
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