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Robots, Digital Music & Stop Motion Films: Youth Get Creative at Best Buy Geek Squad Academy

By Leah Eby, Girls Inc. Eureka! program coordinator, YWCA Minneapolis
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Last month, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis youth had the opportunity to participate in a Geek Squad Academy workshop at Best Buy corporate headquarters. This innovative, female-led workshop was hosted through a partnership with Best Buy Geek Squad Academy to help expose middle and high schoolers to different technologies. Almost 30 youth with Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis participated and expanded their tech skills!

YWCA youth at Best Buy Geek Squad

Stop Motion Films, Digital Beats and Robotics

During the workshop, the youth were split into groups to work on different activities:

They created animated stop motion short films using Legos®, cameras and editing software to edit their films on laptops.

Young person uses legos to make a stop motion film

They composed digital music using iPads to create unique and fun beats.

YWCA Youth use iPads to compose digital music

And, the participants learned the basics of programming to get robots (based on the Star Wars character BB-8) to complete an obstacle course.

Social Media Literacy and Safety Online

The workshop also included a class on social media literacy, the importance of being safe online and always reading the fine print, especially when agreeing to terms and conditions for apps and online services.

Youth present their animated stop motion short films at workshop

On the last day of class, participants were tested on their new knowledge by their Geek Squad mentors. The youth were told to sign their name on the attendance sheet and soon learned that they also signed away some rights – the terms and conditions included Geek Squad mentors being able to instruct them to dance on command or quack like a duck! It was a fun way to remind us about the importance of always reading the fine print before signing our names.

By the end of Geek Squad Academy, YWCA participants walked away with unique new tech skills, knowledge on how to stay safe online and a renewed sense of how fun and useful technology can be.

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