West Philly makerspace offering tech summer camp…for adults

 Leslie Birch will teach a course on wearable technology at The Hacktory (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

Leslie Birch will teach a course on wearable technology at The Hacktory (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

Summer camp — it’s not just for kids anymore.

The Hacktory, a West Philadelphia makerspace, is introducing a new set of summer classes aimed at teaching tech to adults. Over nearly two months, the Hacktory will host a series of one-week courses on topics such as robotics, 3D printing, sound production, and information security.

Leslie Birch will teach a course on wearable technology, a topic she learned largely through self-instruction and intermittent training at the Hacktory. Birch, who has a background in theater, used to marvel from afar at the technologically literate, all the while assuming she was too old and out of step to master something new. She’s hoping to disabuse her students of any similar notions.

“They should walk away going oh, it’s code. It’s not scary. I can do that,” said Birch.

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That’s the guiding principle of this new techy summer camp for adults, said Georgia Guthrie, the Hacktory’s executive director.

“A lot of times I think adults are nervous and they are worried they’re gonna screw up and maybe look bad,” said Guthrie.

0NWAWtechsummercampx600Executive Director Georgia Guthrie operates a robot. (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

But people have to embrace failure when learning new technology, she said. Kids do that naturally because they’re learning all the time. Adults too often recoil at the idea of messing up.

The Hacktory hopes to get willing adults over their fears and into the tech world. The organization has offered smaller courses to adults in the past, but nothing this intensive.

Each of the seven courses costs $300, but teachers, artists, and those from groups underrepresented in technological fields can apply for scholarships.

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