By: Kelsey Niehauser
Area high school students spent their summer developing a virtual empire steeped in a video game to creatively teach math and science to children, thanks to University of Cincinnati (UC) internships. Yusuf Said, Sam Curry, and Donald Hutchinson from Walnut Hills High School and Ganda Kane, a University of Cincinnati Scholars Academy member and Rob Richardson Jr. Scholar from Hughes High School were tasked with the project through UC’s Information Technology Solution Center (ITSC).
All of the students previously participated in an IT Essentials class at UC which is part of the IT Summer Camp, Design Based Information Technology Learning Experience (DITLE). The camp is a 1.2 million dollar grant project funded by the National Science Foundation for 3 years. Students attending DITLE learn valuable skills in the field of IT while still in high school. They also have the ability to earn college credit and have the ability to intern in the field.
Because of DITLE, the students had some previous experience with basic programming, but the particular program they utilized for their internship, Unity, is completely different. Dr. Hazem Said, director of the School of Information Technology in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), purposely set them up in a room together and left them alone to figure it out. UC students assisted as the high schoolers worked their way into the new program.
According to Yusuf Said, the experience was “starting at level zero and trying to find level one.”