Skip to main content
General News

VCSU Hosts Dakota Digital Academy Bootcamp

Jun 8, 2023
Dakota Digital Bootcamp participants working on computers
Instructor and Assistant Professor of Computer Systems and Software Engineering, Dr. Yang Du works with student and high school math teacher Janet Bartels.

While most teachers are spending the summer enjoying the warm weather, a group of 16 found themselves back in the classroom this week at Valley City State University (VCSU). VCSU hosted a two-day IT/Cyber bootcamp for K-12 teachers. The program was offered in partnership with the DakotaDigital Academy (DDA) and the Northern Information Technology Consortium (NITC) and brought the group together in the basement of Vangstad Auditorium.

Janet Bartels, a high school math teacher from Wahpeton, ND, signed up for the class with her coworker Elizabeth Lasch. Lasch teaches computer classes at the high school level and the pair spent the first morning of class working with programming languages. The class spent time programming small robotic cars to get hands-on experience with various programming languages.

“It’s something I’ve never done before,” Bartels said. “We were working with circuits which was interesting.”

Bartels and Lasch said they saw parallels between the morning lesson and their classroom objectives. Concepts like the order of operations and logical processes are applicable to programming, math, and general computer skills. They also thought activities like programming to direct a small vehicle would be of interest to some of their students.

“I think some of my students would be really interested in this because it’s hands-on,” Bartels said. This type of activity is teaching more than just math concepts, she explained. “We are teaching students to think, and to use that higher level thinking around problem-solving.”

Instructor and Assistant Professor of Computer Systems and Software Engineering, Dr. Yang Du, said that using a car kit in the programming session is a fun way to bring skills to life.

“Teaching programming to calculate things like overtime payments can be unappealing for students, but this is fun,” he said. Other topics covered during the bootcamp include cybersecurity, the internet of things and networking.

“Although each topic is usually covered in full semester classes,” Du explained, “the bootcamp is designed to be a fun and quick overview of these topics for teachers of all levels.”

“I think it’s good for everyone to get the basic concepts,” Du said.

The Dakota Digital Academy was established to help provide access to digital-cyber oriented education, training, certificates, and knowledge. It is a collaboration among NDUS campuses, in partnership with select business and corporate partners.

For more information on the learning modules or to register for the bootcamp, go to 2023 Summer Bootcamp– Dakota Digital Academy.