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Get Involved: OpenWorld Learning

OpenWorld Learning’s summer Tech Camps ensure that kids without computers at home still stay on pace in the classroom.

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Gripe all you want about your kid and her iPhone addiction, but tech-savvy children score higher on standardized tests and have better shots at working for tech giants like Google and Facebook. Unfortunately, students from low-income families often lack access to technology. For 15 years, OpenWorld Learning (OWL) has worked to close this digital divide. During the school year, the nonprofit offers free after-school programs that teach robotics, coding, and other computer skills to third- through eighth-graders at 14 Denver schools; participants leave with about 30 percent more tech skills than their non-OWL peers. Come summer, OWL runs 24 Tech Camps—covering everything from engineering with Lego-based robotics to stop-motion animation—hosted at three local colleges and two private schools. Eighty percent of the 500 summer-camp slots are tuition-based ($275 per week; the other 20 percent get scholarships); that money helps pay for OWL’s school-year classes. In preparation for the camps, OWL is looking to train volunteers to serve as teaching assistants. But you don’t have to be a techie to help out. OWL also needs chaperones for field trips to the state Capitol and Denver Art Museum, where, we assume, one of your tasks will be getting students to put away their iPhones.

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