Is it time for your kids to learn to code or something else? Summer camps offer great opportunities!


Kids learn to code in summer camps.


May-I Explain the Importance of Tech Education? To Code or Not to Code?

If you can believe it, we’re already headed into May! And you know what that means – it’s MAY-I Month! Get it? Actually, that’s a poorly timed carryover from April Fool’s. But all jokes aside, this month we’re going to encourage playful learning throughout the summer season. In no laughing manner, as AI continues to dominate the headlines, it’s clear that learning coding is no longer enough.


For years now, learning to code was the key to a career and a promise of success. As the field of computer science has broadened, it is interesting to reexamine what coding means and what else might be needed to ensure a positive future. Even as I opened up my browser to continue writing this month’s post, “Big G” reminded me via email that their AI, Bard, can help write code for me. And it’s true. So what can we do to prepare our learners for what’s the next big wave for employability and success beyond coding?  

Well, it should come as no surprise based on our recent posts, that we need to present our students with relevant and engaging opportunities so that they can explore their passions, which may include some form of coding, art, gaming, making, AI, or a combination of all of those things. All of the projects that my department works on combine a complex set of tools and skill sets to solve challenges. We simply can’t rely on our programmer to “make everything right.” So how might we invite our learners to stoke the fires of their curiosity? A great opportunity is with summer camps. These experiences are usually designed to allow our students to collaboratively explore learning in a more casual environment than traditional school settings. Camp instructors are coached to translate “book learning” into real world applications of skills and knowledge through play. Furthermore, summer camps invite participants into an unfamiliar environment, which allows us all a well needed, fresh start to reimagine our continual learning journey. This style of learning opportunity also fosters micro-explorations into different topics which can establish new connections between subject matters making them more relevant. When you look for the ideal summer camp, seek out camps that focus on creating lasting memories that pair learning with its nature partner, joy over prioritizing a marginal increase in proficiency in skill x.  

TLDR; Summer camp season is here and it’s more important than ever. So important for me, I’m involved in running 3! After the pandemic and in light of the AI space race, it’s especially critical to not just rely on learning coding to deliver on its promise, but rather embracing the messy intertwined curiosities that make us dive deeper into holistic learning. 

Digital Dragon offers many summer camp themes, not only in coding – but many subjects that will transfer to future opportunities, instill curiosity, and help develop many skill sets. For more information:

About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.