Category: ETL News

SP 19 – Post Printing Request Notification

ETL News

2018 ETL Summer Camp Finally Launched!

2018 ETL Summer Science & Technology camp successfully launched today! Today, students learned how Environmental Science work, studying and building hydroponics, composting and worm farms as a way to teach science and sustainable food systems by using the periodic table and the water cycle.


ETL News

Summer Camps Focus on Sustainability


By Rob Schroeder
May 23, 2018

For young kids living in cities, problems like pollution might seem abstract, says Ernesto Reyna, director of the Educational Technology Lab (ETL) at the UIC College of Education.

“They might not see the effects of contamination, and they think, ‘This is something that is going to happen 20 years from now,’” Reyna said. “We want to provide access to activities and experiments that show this is happening right now.”

Reyna and the team at ETL will do just that when they host a series of free summer camps for low-income children in Chicagoland focused on earth science, sustainability, robotics and technology. This is the third straight year ETL is hosting summer camps, expanding to four weekly camps in 2018 to meet demand from children and parents.

Kids at last year’s ETL Summer Camp work with a hydroponics unit and are potting plants.

Kids will engage in hands-on learning, studying pollution and the greenhouse effect while exploring solutions including hydroponics, aquaponics and composting. On the technology side, participants will learn to program using code, build web pages, create animation and build a miniature racecar.

The camps are part of ETL’s efforts to engage with Chicago communities and foster experiences for low-income children in university settings.

“We’re hoping kids will grow up understanding that everything in our environment is interdependent,” Reyna said. “We’re teaching kids about the water cycle, and how composting is a natural way to avoid the use of pesticides and nitrates, making a positive impact on the overall water supply.”

Reyna says the access to technology that the camp provides helps kids expand creativity and critical thinking skills. Once kids understand how code impacts how a computer program works, he says, opportunities are opened to build more advanced skills with programs like Java.

A girl at last year’s ETL Summer Camp sits at a computer, typing code to make a robotic dog in front of her move.

The race car project will take place on a racetrack circling the lab and will introduce concepts including speed, acceleration and measuring the efficiency of an electrical motor.

“We are trying to remind each successive generation of students that universities exist to serve them and their communities,” Reyna said. “We are hoping kids we engage with will see that they can come here and build a career, that we care about them and our city.”

This year’s summer camp dates are June 18-22, June 25-29, July 9-13 and July 16-20. To sign up, download this flyer or contact the ETL team at

This article is written by By Rob Schroeder.  

Original Post at UIC College of Education

ETL News

2018 ETL Science & Technology Summer Camp is now Open

ETL News Summer Camp

As of April 26th, ETL will require all staffs and students to Check-In

In order to keep tracking of the number of visitors and service you better assistance, we will require ALL VISITORS including students, professors, and staffs to swipe I-Card to enter or be provided any assistance.

We appreciate your corporation.

ETL News

9 Reasons Your Child Should Learn to Code (And One Word of Caution)

Written by: Ryan on December 12, 2017

Over the last few years, you might have asked yourself at least once, “What’s with all the hype about getting kids into coding?”

I hear you!

But first, let me say it’s not just hype.

Years ago when all of this kids and code chatter started, you could have characterized it has hype because the whole idea was new and novel to the education system. And, while this “learn to code” popularity spike wasn’t unfounded by any means, time was really the only thing that could tell us if it all was going to be a big fat flash in the pan.

Well, here we are.

Time has passed, yet we are still seeing STEM education stats like by 2018, 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled. And others like 71% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, but only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science.

We’ve officially moved beyond simply saying “coding is cool, so go do it,” end of story. Instead, we are now saying, “coding is in fact cool, so go do it, but you should also go do it because you’ll be rewarded as a result.”

In other words, there are jobs, lots of them—and jobs that pay very well.

What makes this even better is that it’s not just the jobs or the coolness, either (this would be a much shorter blog post if that were the case). But also the creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, and other skills ripe for improvement as byproducts of kids learning to code.

So, let’s go!

What is Coding?

On the most basic level, coding is how we communicate with computers, and what we use to build and run websites, apps, video games, and more. Learning to code is like learning how to speak and write in a particular language; a computer’s language.

Download our 2018 brochure to learn more about getting your child started in coding. Or, continue reading for more reasons why!

There are a lot of acronyms and esoteric terms in the world of coding: HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, etc. It can be overwhelming, but we will get there when we get there. Choosing the best programming language for your child is the next big step. For now, let’s look at why students should code.

Why Kids Should Learn to Code

1. Programmers are in high demand.

As mentioned, according to, 71% of all new STEM jobs are in computing, yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science. That’s a SERIOUS shortage of CS majors.

Learning to code will increase your child’s odds of securing a lucrative STEM career, especially in a world where computing jobs are growing at over twice the national average.

Coding has quickly become a vital skill, and also points out that CS majors can earn 40% more than the college average.

2. Coding provides a competitive advantage when applying to colleges, internships, and jobs.

If you possess a hot skill that many of your peers lack–such as the ability to code–you instantly appear more desirable in the eyes of potential college admissions officers and employers. Plain and simple.

3. With programming knowledge, students better understand the world around them.

Most of us don’t know the first thing about what makes our smartphones, laptops, social media networks, and video games run. Basic programming knowledge can change the way we interact with the technologies we use (and take for granted) daily, and can open our eyes to the infinite possibilities of coding.

4. Programming is fun and satisfying.

While programming is logic-based, it’s also an extremely creative activity. If you know how to code, you can develop the aforementioned apps, video games, websites, and more!

For many developers, part of the appeal of coding is the challenge and reward of seeing their code come to life after a good debugging session. Don’t be fooled, however–with the right instruction, getting started with programming can be easy and fun.

5. Coding improves creativity.

When you learn a language, you use it to express yourself. The same is true with code. Coding empowers kids to not only consume digital media and technology, but to create it. Instead of simply playing a video game or using an app, they can imagine making their own video game, or envision what their own website, or app might look like—and they’ll have the outlet for expression.

6. Coding improves problem solving.

When kids code, they take complex problems and break them down into smaller parts.

Kids learn what it’s like to approach a problem the way a software engineer does, with logical, computational thinking.

As Dan Crow, CTO of SongKick explains, “Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems.”

This logical thinking is a powerful tool in school, work, and life.

7. Coding improves persistence.

Learning to code, like any new discipline, is a challenge. Thus, tackling complex problems—and making mistakes along the way—can be very frustrating.

Coding teaches the valuable skill of persistence in the face of such challenges. Learning how to problem solve and look for solutions through research and collaboration builds this highly desirable skill.

Download our 2018 brochure to learn more about getting your child started in coding. Or, continue reading for more reasons why!

8. Coding improves collaboration.

Anyone can learn how to code—kids can learn alongside others of every race, gender, or background. Kids meet and learn how to collaborate with all kinds of peers, all joined by a common interest in technology.

Classrooms and other in-person environments, like iD Tech, bring kids together for face-to-face collaboration. Kids learning online can also grow, asking each other questions, and working to solve problems and create things together.

Many games, like Minecraft, also offer a bevy of educational benefits because they too involve coding, collaboration, and participation—with peers all over the world.

9. Coding improves communication.

Communication is an absolutely essential skill throughout school, work, and life. People who can clearly communicate complex ideas in simple terms tend to be successful in different industries and walks of life.

When kids learn how to code, they learn how to communicate with the most simple-minded audience imaginable: computers. As mentioned, coding teaches kids how to break down complex ideas and arrange them in a way that computers can understand.

But with all of that, proceed with caution…

OK, I’m not going to turn around now and say you shouldn’t learn to code, obviously, but more of…

Why just code?

It’s natural for such a simple question and the following related questions to crop up as you break down whether or not coding is right for your child:

What if my child doesn’t want to learn to code, specifically? Does that make them a failure?

Will they not have the chance to secure a cool internship down the road? A worthwhile job?

What if they want to learn to just “tech” instead? Is that a viable option?

What if they want to learn X? Or Y? Or Z? Will those things count in the future?

Likewise, if they only learned to code, and nothing else, would that take them to the top?

So, let me wrap up by saying me or whomever else urging you to “learn to code” is probably not doing so with the intent of the statement to be so exclusive.

I mean, you would never be encouraged to read, but not write. Or to learn your multiplication tables while throwing division out the window. Facebook was created by a programmer, but what would it be without design?

So, by all means, if you have a kid with a coding interest, then yes, help them to LEARN. TO. CODE. If they don’t have an interest, still consider it, though. It’s that important, and you’ll be glad you at least gave it a chance.

But in the process, don’t forget about the other things. Help them learn to “tech,” and explore game development possibilities3D printing, or video production if that’s what better suits them. Immerse in photography if that’s truly what they want to do as a hobby or even a future career.

Have them get skilled in marketing, negotiation, promotion, and more… or learn how to become a leader. There is a list of learning opportunities, and that list goes on and on. Coding can take you far, but you must also possess the complementary skills to make your creations thrive.

One of the most amazing things you’ll ever hear is that Steve Jobs didn’t code for Apple. Ever.

Can you believe that? If I asked you whether or not Steve Jobs was successful, you’d turn around and ask me if the sky was blue or if grass was green.

Jobs was one of the most successful people to roam the earth… not because he was a supreme coder, but because he knew enough to communicate a vision, and was wildly skilled elsewhere.

Next Steps

In the end, kids and teens who want to capitalize on the abundance of computer science jobs in tomorrow’s landscape should be taking programming courses today.

iD Tech students arrive in the summer eager to learn—not only because of their interests in technology,  but because many of them still aren’t receiving valuable instruction in subjects like coding with their everyday schooling. They leave camp with new skills, deeper knowledge, and the confidence to go out and do something impactful with what they’ve learned. We’ve seen this happen summer after summer.

Best of luck!

Source :

ETL News

Announcement regarding Printing Request

Poster Printing Request Note

1. Printing of posters is a service that is provided to faculty, staff and students by the Educational Technology Lab for public presentations such as conferences. The cost ($60-80 per 44” poster; $30-40 per 24”poster) is covered by the College of Education.

2. Printing of a poster, assuming that there are no glitches with formatting, etc., requires 3-4 hours. It is very different technology than that of the typical office printer and the ETL plotter printer is not of the quality of a print shop such as Kinkos.

3. Particularly during “conference season,” ETL receives high numbers of requests for printing, so it is important to submit a request with as much lead time as possible; one week advance minimum.

Printing Request Instruction

Please send an email message with the following information to the ETL Director, Ernesto Reyna at

1. Your name and position (student, faculty, other)
2. Purpose of the poster (e.g., conference presentation)
3. Poster site
4. Deadline date
5. Do not include your poster with this note

Note :

We will print Only PDF formatted posters (no word, powerpoint, windows picture etc..) 

After approval please Do not send posters to .

Send posters to preferable use a cloud link,  attachments with big files often are rejected for most common email applications. 

ETL News

Robots & Coding at ETL Camp

By Rob Schroeder
July 18, 2016

In the national debate about the STEM “crisis” in the United States, commentators frequently emphasize the need to build interest in science, math and technology careers among Black and Latino youth.

Two summer camps held by the Educational Technology Lab at the College of Education are taking a different tack: acknowledging that interest in STEM study and careers is prevalent regardless of race or socioeconomic class, but providing needed access and opportunity to creative endeavors like robotics and coding. Check out photos from the camps:

A Black girl writes code to create a computer program

Two Black girls work together to assemble a lego robot, plugging in USB wires into the robot

A lego robot vehicle sits on a desk, plugged into a computer awaiting commands to move

A young Black girl works on writing code at a computer.


Source: UIC College of Education 

ETL News