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More than 120 students from the Reno/Sparks area registered for Northern Nevada’s first-ever Geek Squad Academy from Best Buy at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery), and 100 attended. Held on August 26th and 27th, the two-day technology camp attracted Junior Agents (participants) ranging in age from 10 to 17, and included forty girls.
The Discovery was invited to submit an application to host Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy earlier this year. Best Buy subsequently selected The Discovery to host this program worth $80,000 in in-kind value ranging from Best Buy employee time, to the use of tech gear, plus T-shirts and take-home kits for participants.
Geek Squad Academy provided an opportunity for students to develop tech skills, spark creativity, build self-confidence, and discover how technology can benefit them in their educational pursuits and in future careers. Students received intensive, hands-on experience with some of the newest and coolest technologies related to 3D design, digital music and photography, film production, and more.
At The Discovery, we know that the best way to learn something or to spark curiosity is to jump right in and try it out for yourself. Paul, a 13-year-old student who attended Geek Squad Academy, found that out for himself. Paul got really excited by a 3D Design Lab being taught using software called SketchUp. He used the program to create a glass-topped coffee table that housed an aquarium and won an award for “Best Design.” Other students experimented with digital music programs, 3D design and digital cameras. Internet safety was another theme covered to help participants protect themselves online.
Geek Squad Academy is just one example of The Discovery’s commitment to partnering with local businesses and organizations to create educational opportunities for the community, including underserved populations. To enhance this effort, The Discovery offered financial assistance for students from low-income families to support their Geek Squad Academy registration fee, which was intentionally kept low at $25 for members, and $35 for nonmembers. Every hungry learner was also provided lunch each day of Geek Squad Academy, thanks to food sponsors Laughing Planet Café and Noble Pie Parlor.
Hosting Geek Squad Academy is just the beginning of improving technology programming at The Discovery. With a generous gift from Microsoft, The Discovery is making the transition to a fiber optic Internet connection later this fall that will enable us to offer more internet-based educational programming. This increased capacity and speed will allow us to support an entire classroom full of computers for new field trip Discovery Labs and Camp Discovery activities.
The Discovery seeks out partners who can help it meet its mission of fostering life-long learning, encouraging exploration and sparking curiosity and imagination. For details about other educational activities at the Discovery, please check out our calendar of events. And for photos of the Geek Squad Academy’s activities, check out The Discovery’s Facebook photo album.