Unleashing Potential: AI and Creativity Camp at St. Vrain Valley Schools

The Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools’ groundbreaking AI and Creativity Camp is transforming how students engage with technology. Through camp activities, students combine technology and creativity by exploring a range of Artificial Intelligence including AI software, art projects, 3D models, and more. 

A Transformative Experience

One of the standout participants in this camp is Isaac Crane, a fifth-grader at Mead Elementary who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. This genetic condition means his body cannot turn protein into muscle and he depends on various machines and technology. Isaac has used an eye-gaze enabled communication device, his “talker,” since he was 18 months old. This device functions as a PC and is integral to all his schoolwork. Despite his challenges, Isaac loves singing, playing video games with his sister, watching cartoons, reading, and being a part of Cub Scouts Pack 159. He’s also a big Marvel fan, especially of Spider-Man.

Isaac’s mother, Jenna Crane, signed him up for the camp to meet new friends and to do something active over the summer, unsure of how well it would work. “After the first day, it was clear that he would be able to fully participate and complete all of the activities on his talker,” she excitedly shares. Isaac worked on projects using programs they had never tried or known about, with his para, Sarah Merritt, immediately recognizing ways he could use these programs in school.

Sarah emphasizes how the camp has expanded Isaac’s creative tools. “What he is producing with AI is going to be a game changer for him.” The AI tools introduced at the camp have enhanced Isaac’s ability to express his creativity and engage in activities alongside his classmates.

The Role of AI in Education

According to Mai Vu, AI program manager at the Innovation Center, the camp’s primary goal is to explore the potential of co-creating with AI. “Can humans co-create with AI? That’s what this camp is trying to explore,” she says. The camp aims to provide students with access to what AI can and cannot do, fostering an environment of creativity and innovation.

During the camp, students are learning how to use AI to generate images based on their descriptions and ideas. These AI-generated images are then used to create various artifacts, such as comic books, coloring books, and personalized T-shirts. This process not only introduces students to advanced technology but also allows them to see their creative visions come to life. Isaac, for example, was thrilled to design his own T-shirt, a project that showcased his creativity and technical skills.

For Isaac, the camp represents an opportunity to explore his interests and skills in new ways. “It’s wonderful to help him in his journey,” Mai expresses, highlighting the empowering nature of the camp.

Impact on Learning and Beyond

The implications of this camp extend beyond just technical skills. Sarah recounts her excitement about the potential for this technology to enhance Isaac’s academic experience. “This will make it so that he can do presentations for his class where he can do his own illustrations,” she explains. The ability to contribute visually to his projects and presentations means Isaac can now fully engage in the creative aspects of his education.

Jenna Crane shared that their family’s hopes for Isaac have evolved significantly over the years. “When we enrolled him in preschool, we were almost in shock that he’d survived long enough to get to go to preschool. We approach every day as a gift, and every passing year we are so impressed with how bright, determined, and funny Isaac is.” She adds, “Now we are hopeful that he’ll get to demonstrate his knowledge and interests even more as he gets older. Technology is literally his lifeline, so seeing a glimpse of all that the Innovation Center has to offer that he could access with his eyes is just so cool.”

Isaac expressed his enthusiasm for the camp, stating, “It was awesome! I got to learn new computer things, work with kids from other schools, and do something fun.” His favorite part? “Making the T-shirt!”

A Bright Future

The AI and Creativity Camp at St. Vrain Valley Schools is a great example of how the power of public education is constantly advancing, illustrating how technology can enable students to reach their full potential. For students like Isaac, this camp is not just about learning AI; it’s about unleashing their full potential and showing the world what they are truly capable of.

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