Artech puts focus on Game Design, Animation and Robotics
by Richard Woodbury, Metro Halifax, January 2010
Photograph Artech camp participant Robert shows off the robot he built.
For some kids, the idea of designing their own videogame might seem like a dream, but that can be a reality at Artech Camps. Artech offers workshops and week-long camps in art-based or art enhanced
Technologies for kids during March Break and the summer months.
Animation, robotics and video game creation are just some of the camps offered for kids between the ages of five and 16, although each camp is targeted to a more specific age group.
The camps offered this March Break are titled RPG Game Design and Wild Adventures in Technology & Art. The latter is more of an introductory camp. “That’s one of our camps where they get an introduction into the different things we do,” says Artech’s director, Ronnie Scullion. Topics include animation, photo editing and Lego robotics. “I think it’s a great way (for kids) to see what we can offer in terms of programs,” Scullion adds. “They get a chance to find out if that’s what they really want to do.”
The response has been positive. “The only complaints we get are (that) the days end too soon. Some of the kids would like to sleep over, and they say the camps should run year-round,” says Scullion.
One past participant came up with a radical idea: “We had one boy who came to seven of our eight camps last summer, – He said he wants to grow up and be the prime minister, close all the schools and just have Artech offered to kids Canada-wide.”
Although a multitude of workshops and camps are offered during the summer sessions at its locations in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto, Artech’s March Break camps are only offered in Halifax and Ottawa. Every camp has an average of 12 kids and two staff members, meaning an average staff to camper ratio of 1:6. There is also one computer per student, so students aren’t sharing computers or spending time waiting for their turn. The subject matter may seem complex, but Scullion says kids already have a good knowledge base to work from. “I think the kids have all the know-how to do so much more, it’s just a matter of exposing them to more things that they can do, in terms of animation or game design and once they pick up the basics of that, they’re off and running!”