PHOTOS: Geek Squad Academy sparks creativity for Spencer Middle School students

Grade 6 students Skye Marley, right, and Sabrina Cain show off their fan that is powered with batteries and playdough. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Grade 6 student Devan Sumner took this robot made from legos and programmed it to manoeuver itself through a maze. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Grade 6 students (left to right) Isaac Bamara, Alistair Smith, and Liam Ray are completing their worksheets for a workshop about social media responsibilities. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
A 3D printing workshop teaching students how to use computer-aided design (CAD) software to build a house on their laptops. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Grade 6 student Austin Foley finishes his house design with help from Best Buy team leader Shanyaa Assu. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Robotics, 3D design and digital citizenship are the building blocks of many future jobs.

In an effort to help local students expand their knowledge, Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy hosted a full day of workshops at Spencer Middle School.

“Our students are so engaged,” said Grade 6 teacher Brianna DeGirolamo. “These kids are problem-solving things I never learned in high school. They’re having a great time delving into it and getting hands-on experience.”

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DeGirolamo was the one who originally reached out to Best Buy to have the tech workshop come to the Langford school.

Geek Squad Academy’s goal is to get youth excited about the opportunities technology can provide. Currently, statistics show 70 per cent of Canada’s top jobs require technology skills. These types of programs give hands-on tech experience to kids who might have never had the chance to try these new technologies.

There are four different classes. The first is 3D printing, using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Students use a laptop to build anything that pops into their minds.

“We were told to make a house, but I also made a microwave,” said Grade 6 student Isaac Bamara. “That was my favourite class today.”

Another class dives into circuit building, using playdough to conduct electricity.

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“We couldn’t decide on making a snake or submarine,” noted Grade 6 student Skye Marley. “I never knew that playdough could do this sort of thing in the first place.”

Another course dives into robotics, teaching students how to program their robots to manoeuvre through a maze on their own using code.

“I’ve never used this robot before, but it’s really fun to learn how to get it to move,” added Grade 6 student Austin Foley. “I think I might join the robotics club.”

Lastly, a digital citizenship workshop teaches the benefits and risks of a social media presence.

“A lot of parents don’t know the dangers of their kids having social media, let along understanding what it is,” said Jen Knight, a Best Buy representative. “Our goal is to make sure they aren’t intimidated by technology, but interested. We remind the students that many jobs they will be applying for do not exist currently.”

Geek Squad Academy camps come at no cost to schools, as it’s part of Best Buy’s community investment outreach.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
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