Teen Tech Bash

An after-hours learning party with a focus on ideation and tech skills for South Bronx teens

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In 2013, Exposure Camp launched a 6-month pilot program to help youth improve their digital content creation skills in a fun and party-like environment. Transforming a church basement in Mount Vernon into a collaborative, after-hours learning party, Teen Tech Bash ran from 10pm to 6am on the 4th Friday of the month, from January to June. A model of Connected Learning in action, each event provided youth with multiple opportunities to create digital media and explore their interests in a relaxed environment supported by peers and mentors.

Working with different collaborators and hosts each week, the events provided a real-time design studio environment, where youth could engage in ideation, collaboration and creativity. Each week featured different activity stations which helped guide youth in self-directed exploration of creative technology use. Working alongside mentors, youth utilized Scratch and App Inventor to develop mobile apps and design games.  Youth also used Webmaker Thimble to create web pages that reflect their personal interests. A number of Hive NYC community organizations pitched in to help, using the all-night parties as an opportunity to try out new tools. For example, Iridescent Learning led a game design session to playtest the physics simulation game Gravity EtherWorld Up hosted an electronic music and beats production workshop and REV-’s youth-led PopSquad led video remix workshops with Popcorn Maker.

Organizational Impact and Project Discovery

Exposure Camp was new to Hive NYC at the onset of this project. As the organization’s involvement with the network grew, so too did the depth and diversity of Teen Tech Bash’s offerings. For example, Scratch (and introductory programming concepts) were complemented by new experiences playing, testing and revising existing game designs. Video and music components were also added, offering youth with musical inclinations an opportunity to further pursue their interests. One of the first grants awarded to Exposure Camp, funding allowed Exposure Camp to compensate participating educators in addition to running the program for a full six months.

I found that many of the youth have great ideas but don’t feel secure enough to share them or even attempt them on their own. In the future, I want to change the focus to make it more of a “creativity bash,” and foster more “making,” problem solving and collaboration. I find that teens are more excited to code or problem solve when it’s a means to realizing their creative vision.
~Tina Shoulders, Exposure Camp

Lead Organization:
Exposure Camp

Partner Organizations:
WorldUP , Iridescent , REV—

Project Goal:
Provide Bronx and Mount Vernon youth with a fun and creative environment to explore coding, technology and hands-on making in a mentor-supported environment

Project Tags:
Design, Games & Game Design, STEM, Webmaking

Project Portfolio