MESA, Ariz. Want to try skydiving? How about testing your bow-and-arrow skills against a large purple enemy or fighting off zombie heads before they attack you?
There are children creating apps for such adventures at a summer camp hosted by Arizona State University this year.
The weeklong camps for youths ages 7-17 are being held across the country by iD Tech Camps. ASUs site will see about 300 students learn how to create computer games, Apple apps and multimedia visual arts creations during the seven weeks camps are offered.
Gilberts Tyrus Carrico, 12, tried out the app camp. By the fourth day, hed made an entirely working app where game players fight off big gray creatures using floating weapons.
I like how it was a blank space when I started it, and it came into a working game, he said as he showed off the game on a computer. This was his second week at the camp, having tried 2-D gaming a few weeks ago.
I like technology, and I figure I might as well do something with it, he said.
Kai Hayakawa, 10, of Phoenix, said he came up with the idea of the skydiving app while sitting in the pool. In the game, users are skydivers trying to collect coins as they float by buildings in Seattle.
I had the idea of making apps a long time ago. My dad was looking for an easy program, and I tried GameSalad, he said. It was a little tough, he admits. Then his dad found this camp where the kids learn how to use GameSalad, a free online program that can be used to create an app.
Instructor Kelsey Yolko Manning (all the staff members use their nicknames, rather than real names at camp) said its fun to see how the kids progress in just a week of learning.
I think it gives them a sense of accomplishment, especially in making something youre proud of, she said.
While the app camp is specifically geared to game creation, the underlying lessons are giving students a taste of what its like to do computer programing a skill that could come in handy in the future, she said.
I wish Id learned that at age 10, Manning said.
Camp director Garth The Professor Backman is a science teacher at the San Tan Valleys American Leadership Academy. He said students these days need these skills because, Its just the world theyre growing up in.
Its like when the power went off and you used to fix your dads VCR clock. This is the same as that. Technology is taking off at light speed. This is how things function in their world. The earlier they get immersed into it, the better theyll be in the future. They wont be afraid of it. The kids need this framework.
Plus, its exposing the students to science, technology, engineering and math called STEM which is taking off in the educational world.
Theyre learning to think with science in mind, STEM-like concepts they need.