ThoughtSTEM Blog

7 Non-Technical Skills your Students Learn at ThoughtSTEM Summer Camp

By: Phil Ballew

1. Critical Thinking

At ThoughtSTEM, we value critical thinking. Our coaches are aware of the importance critical thinking plays in developing into a successful coder. When a student is working on their game, they learn how to evaluate the problem at hand by breaking it down into smaller problems. Critical thinking translates well into even the non-technical areas of your child’s life: whether they’re trying to evaluate the factuality of information they find on the internet, or whether they have a complicated logistical problem to solve.

2. Team Building

We make sure that our students are always learning how to code with other people. No matter where you end up in life, large projects are often tackled by not just one, but by a whole group of people. In our classes & camps, we emphasize that it is “not about my code; it is about what I can code. It’s not about me; it’s about my team.” In order for a student to succeed in a camp, they work with their partner to build a program. In today’s workforce, projects are collaborative. We believe that just as people do not work in a vacuum, nobody should learn in one either. We succeed as a group!

3. Problem Solving

As anyone who has tried their hand at coding knows, computer programming is about solving problems, big and small. What we love about this is how students can translate this to other areas in their lives. Not every student who participates in a camp is going to become a computer programmer as an adult, but every student who participates in these camps will have other hurdles to overcome in life. We help these students understand the methods that effectively break down large problems into smaller ones and help them to be successful in the face of large problems.

4. Resiliency

At ThoughtSTEM, we value mistakes as part of the learning process. We encourage students to take risks, fail, and try again. In doing so we teach students to take chances on things in life they may not be familiar with, thus helping them grow as individuals. We want to make sure our students are not afraid of failure, and, most importantly, that they are able to confidently bounce back from a failure. Bugs in their code are a major part of the learning process.

5. Communication Skills

In order for students to achieve the goals set out before them in their coding problems, they need to effectively communicate with their fellow coding team members in order for their project to be completed. Research shows that there are significant similarities between learning a foreign language and learning a programming language - more than were previously thought. At ThoughtSTEM, we want students to use these language skills to unleash their creativity in a fun, communicative manner.

6. Curiosity

We want our students to discover their own answers sometimes. We don’t do your child’s coding for them. We teach them to be curious & try to discover things for themselves sometimes. We may only teach your children for a week, but we want to instill within them a desire to learn far beyond that. Very often we see students return for more classes. We believe this is not only because the parents see the value in our classes, but the students are curious to discover more about how computers work and what can be created with them.

7. Creativity

Part of our curriculum is about highlighting each student’s ability to make their coding projects their own. Some examples of this involve in how we help students build video games: they can create their own stories and design their own characters in each game they make. In our camps, they get to see how the code they type allows them to express their creative spirit!