Austin Peay State University Coding Camp Kids Ask Google Data Center Reps questions – Clarksville Online


“You can’t ask any questions, like crazy questions,” said Josh Middleton, one of the data center reps. “Ask some silly question.”

And one of the middle schoolers took the challenge: “Random question: That big container of cups, are they still there?”

On the coding camp of every last day – the middle school camps ended last week, and the high school camps started this week – a short video tour from the Google data center and answer all sorts of questions from the campers.

“This is the future of our industry regardless of the path they take, whether it’s coding, scripting, hardware networking, infrastructure,” Middleton said. “I want to see them thrive, give them something to work on.”

Grant-sponsored camps

Google provided funding for the camps – this year awarding a $ 48,000 grant to Austin Peay State University. Much of the money helps cover the campers’ costs, allowing some to attend five days of camp for as little as $ 10.00.

And workers from the data center volunteer to come speak to the kids every week. Jason DePriest and Charles Tracy joined Middleton on June 17th, at the girls-preferred Minecraft middle school camp. Each has visited the coding camps several times.

“Giving kids these opportunities is super important,” DePriest said. “We see this blend of entertainment (Minecraft) and coding where they know they are going to code but something that they enjoy and are interested in.

“We all started with an interest like this, and it became a lifelong interest.”

Added Tracy: “And I like the enthusiasm the kids have. You can see that the future is bright. They can see what their goals might be, and if we can set them on that path, that’s more than enough for me. “

Answering silly questions

The young campers were enthusiastic, filling in much of the 30-minute presentation with questions.

Most campers ask straight-laced questions, such as wanting to know how the data center works. The short answer, from DePriest: “All the websites that you go to, that are talking to a computer somewhere that is hosting that website. That ‘s called a server.

“We have a building the size of Governor’s Square Mall full of servers,” he added. “Whatever your favorite website is, there is a chance that we are actually hosting that on all the videos on YouTube, all the Gmail in the world, all the Google Classroom docs in the world.”

But some of the questions were – unpredictable.

The question about the large container cups was a reference to one of the micro-kitchens on the data center shown in the video.

“One of the things that Google provides is snacks and drinks, lunch and breakfast, and you can see we’ve got a cooler full of drinks, orange juice and all that.”

What the kids think

The week leading up to the June 17th Google visit focuses on the serious coding of business learning in Minecraft.

The youngsters and instructors at the Minecraft camp for middle schoolers. (APSU)

The APSU Department of Computer Science and Information Technology runs the summer camps and added the Minecraft camp last summer. The camps are popular, and the students get a free year of Minecraft Education Edition. The camps added a Roblox option this year.

Hannah Dustan, who’s a Nashville homeschool student entering the sixth grade, loves Minecraft and knows the game really well. She attends the Minecraft and website camps leading up to the June 17th Google visit.


“I play Minecraft every day with my siblings, and I know some Minecraft coding already, but I’ve never used an app to do it,” she said. “I’ve probably learned more at the website camp, but I’ve done stuff that I never knew I was able to do in Minecraft.”

She learned HTML, CSS and JavaScript during her week in the website camp.

Willow Dunn, who’s entering sixth grade at the Innovation Academy in Springfield, said Minecraft expanded its abilities into the game.

“I’ve learned coding that you can use some blocks together to make a whole new thing and some blocks help more than other blocks,” she said.

She wants to attend other coding camps next year.

“It’s fun, and I like coding.”

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