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IUPUI’s Idea Garden welcomes K-12 students

IUPUI’s Idea Garden hosted a summer program focused on providing important knowledge on new and emerging technology.

During the month of June, IUPUI’s  Idea Garden, an innovative space where students, staff, and faculty can find inspiration with emerging technologies, hosted a variety of programs for K-12 students.  

One program, IUPUI Upward Bound, designed to bridge the gap between high school and college, sent 12 students to the daily camp at Hine Hall to explore a variety of technologies through the new Tech Cultivators program.  

Program director Tracey Birdwell is happy to give young students access to new technology. “Although the Idea Garden is usually focused on serving undergraduates,” she said, “we are always excited to help serve the wider Indiana community and prepare our future college students by giving them the opportunity to get comfortable with not only engaging technology, but also the idea of being on campus.” 

As part of the program, students were able to learn about 3D printing, create objects with 3D pens, build projects related to the Internet of Things, explore with VR, and draw on a variety of touch screens. Students participated in both structured and free-choice days, which gave them the autonomy to explore the technology available along with a variety of educational experiences. 

Idea Garden staff particularly enjoyed working with the Upward Bound students. Zach Snyder, STC Operations team lead said, “They were so excited about the tech we worked with in the Idea Garden and collectively exceeded every expectation set for each project they worked on during the program." 

Students left the program with a variety of new technology experiences, took home each project they built, and received an Innovator’s Certificate.  

Students also walked away with a personalized award called the “Zachs,” named for Snyder, who ran the Idea Garden programs this summer. Award categories included “London Bridge,” for a bridge building activity and “Jewel Crafter,” for an impressive jewelry design made with 3D pens.  

“I am so pleased that our K-12 students got to experience what our undergraduates do. These students were getting direct experience with new tech and are applying new knowledge to projects,” said Tracey Birdwell., “But, just as important, they are also getting the message that they belong in higher ed, not only in places like the Idea Garden, but any college campus they choose.”  

For more information on the Idea Garden, please visit their website.