Hands-On Learning for Idaho Students

Hands on? Check. Challenge-based? Check. Career skill development through creative activities? Check! Idaho Digital Learning Alliance, in a unique partnership called OnRamp with Apple, Boise State University, and College of Western Idaho is bringing exciting opportunities to Idaho students in coding, app design, and creative communication. These opportunities are currently available through two classes: 

  • App Development with Swift (Includes Dual Credit with College of Western Idaho)
  • Everyone Can Create with iPads (Humanities credit for Middle School students)

To maximize student success, enrollment includes a device loan of either a MacBook (for App Development with Swift) or an iPad (for Everyone Can Create) for those in need. Through interactive, challenge-based lessons, students will master the ability to utilize this technology to its fullest potential. The classes are designed to quickly advance students beyond “clicking in the right order” and take them to the level where the devices are workable tools they can use in meaningful ways. 

In Dual Credit App Development with Swift, students will examine how to design, prototype, and architect an app of their own to solve a problem in their community and beyond. Swift is an intuitive coding language used for iOS devices that is easy to learn and implement, giving the students the freedom to focus on creating. 

In Everyone Can Create with iPads, students will build a toolkit to share ideas through drawing, photography, video, and music using an iPad. With this knowledge, students will be able to express themselves with greater depth and richness, enhancing their engagement in all their classes! Everyone Can Create can be offered as an individual class, or your school can sign up for a cart of iPads to create a cohort of learners at their location. 

You can find more information about each course in our Course Catalog or the Course Flyer. To register for the course, please contact the Site Coordinator at your local school. You can also contact IDLA directly at (208) 342-0207.

Keeping kids engaged and learning during the summer – 2021

It’s been a challenging year but as the school year is coming to a close, we’ve curated a list of options to keep kids engaged and learning during the summer. The list is smaller this year due to Covid-19 face-2-face safety guidelines but here are some options we’ve found throughout Idaho that offer summer learning programs. Click on the linked titles for more information on each program.


Idaho Digital Learning Alliance Summer Courses

Idaho Digital Learning Alliance courses are online classes for all Idaho students. Idaho Digital Learning Alliance courses create flexibility in scheduling and access to dual credit or Advanced Placement courses for college credit, opportunity to graduate early, and recover credits. All courses align to Idaho Core Content Standards and are facilitated by an Idaho Certified, Highly Qualified Teacher.

Micron Tech Camp – An online STEM experience

A VIRTUAL Science and Engineering Camp for students who have completed 7th or 8th grade, presented by the Micron Foundation.

Tech Camp is a three-day, three hours per day virtual experience that also focuses on hands-on science and engineering activities related to the semiconductor industry. Registered campers will receive a kit containing all the materials needed for the hands-on activities led by Micron professionals. The camp will be provided using the Zoom platform; students will need to have access to a laptop or chrome-book device and reliable internet connection.

Northern Idaho

University of Idaho Dig’nIT Camps

The Dig’nIT camp program is the first step in the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene mission to build a pipeline of leaders in STEM fields. Campers experience the excitement of subjects ranging from chemistry to coding through interactive classes, hands-on experiments and team building.

North Idaho College – Camp NIC

Various camps are offered throughout the summer that include The Magical World of Harry Potterville, Amazing Acrylic Art, Creating Comics, Cooking Around the World, and Itching to be Stitching.

Southern Idaho

The Cabin Idaho – Summer Writing Camps

Week-long camp of challenging creative writing enrichment for kids entering grades 3-12 led by professional teaching-writer in poetry, fiction, memoir, journalism, & plays. Scholarships available.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival – Summer Camps

A super fun, game-filled class where students are immersed in kid-friendly versions of some of Shakespeare’s wackiest plays!

University of Idaho Boise Summer Tech Camps

Coding, game development, robotics, and creative courses for kids and teens.

Boise State University Computer Science Summer Camps

GenCyber Cybersecurity Summer Camp for Idaho High School Students (Girls Only) and GenCyber Cybersecurity Summer Camp for Idaho High School Students (Boys and Girls)

Eastern Idaho

Space Camp at Rigby Rockets

Students will explore how astronomers use landers and rovers to explore space. Students 10-12 will investigate how to make a lander to protect astronauts/rovers as they land. Students 13-15 will have the opportunity to assemble and/or program realistic rovers that can explore “unknown worlds”

Madison Cares Summer Camp

Summer camp is a fun interactive opportunity for children to learn social skills, coping strategies, and to make new friends. We foster an activity rich environment through games, hands on experiences, and field trips. Through our summer camp program we hope to be able to help our students gain confidence in the skills they have learned and make new friends. The cost of camp is $55 per child per session. A child may sign up for a maximum of two camps. Camp is available for children entering 1st grade-5th grade.

Maggie’s Place Summer Day Camps 2021- Storybook Summer

Each week’s theme is inspired by a children’s literary classic, such as Harry Potter, Stuart Little, Where the Wild Things Are, Magic Tree House, Charlotte’s Web, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Alice and Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, Percy Jackson, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Jungle Book, and A to Z Mysteries.

​In addition to classic, book themed weeks, Maggie’s Place Summer Day Camps include weekly field trips, morning and afternoon snacks, a camp t-shirt and weekly books to take home.


Check back frequently as more information may be available.

Making Computer Science Accessible to All

The Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance is continuing to post a weekly blog on online and blended learning topics. The Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA) is an association of the chiefs of some of the most innovative virtual programs in the US. Consisting largely of leading state virtual schools, and several outstanding consortia (http://www.virtuallearningalliance.org/about/). The member organizations serve well over a quarter of a million online course enrollments annually. Idaho Digital Learning has been a member since its inception and takes the lead in many of the organization work groups.

The latest blog is “Making Computer Science Accessible to All,” from Idaho Digital Learning. If you are interested in following along as all partner states share their knowledge of elearning, subscribe by provide your name and email.

Here is an excerpt from the post…

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that computer science-related jobs will be among the fastest growing and highest paying over the next decade. A large majority of parents (84%), teachers (71%), principals (66%) and superintendents (65%) agree that offering Computer Science is more important or just as important as required core courses like math, science, history and English. A majority of educators feel that students should be required to take Computer Science in schools when it is available (60% of teachers, 62% of principals and 56% of superintendents agree).[1] Yet a recent analysis of national data shows that 22 percent of 12th graders say they’ve never taken a computer science course and more than half of all high school seniors do not have access to computer science in their school.[2]

Online learning programs, such as Idaho Digital Learning, are tackling the problem of providing access to computer science for all students in Idaho. In 2014 the Idaho State Board of Education and House Education Committee approved a rule change that allows students to take dual credit or AP computer science as core math or science credit versus as an elective credit – providing an incentive for students to explore the field of Computer Science. In addition, there are other innovative virtual school statewide online learning programs throughout the nation that are providing students with opportunities. For example, as part of a statewide initiative to make computer science available throughout every high school, the Arkansas Governor requested that Virtual Arkansas make online Computer Science available, free, to all schools throughout the state.

To find out more of what Idaho Digital learning is doing to provide Computer Science education, continue reading the complete blog post at http://www.virtuallearningalliance.org/blog/

Computer Science Education Week: December 5 – 11

We challenge you to an Hour of Code!

It’s time for an Hour of Code! What is an Hour of Code? It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science where anyone can learn the basics. Check out the Hour of Code website at http://hourofcode.org/.

As we have done in past years, there is a prize category for Idaho Digital Learning staff. When you complete your hour, print the certificate of completion and give a copy to me or send me a digital copy. Your name will be added to the internal drawing for a $50 Amazon card.

If family is interested in participating they can enter the drawing here.

Every Idaho student, teacher, parent, and others who completes an “Hour of Code” through Code.org may enter into a drawing to win a $50 Amazon gift card or an iPad mini! There will be four (4) gift card winners chosen across four categories; PreK-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade and Adult category (Administrator, Teacher or Parent) and one (1) grand prize winner of an iPad Mini chosen from all categories. Enter to win HERE.

As you participate & complete the Hour of Code let everyone know by using: #hourofcodeID

Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think. – Steve Jobs

Idaho Digital Learning goes to Washington DC

Dr. Cheryl Charlton and Dr. Sherawn Reberry take the podium at the White House
Dr. Cheryl Charlton and Dr. Sherawn Reberry take the podium at the White House

Idaho Digital Learning was invited to the Professional Learning Partner event with Code.org in Washington, DC because of the impact the organization is beginning to have on the implementation of computer science. Dr. Sherawn Reberry was invited to sit on a panel during the White House visit to discuss the regional implementation of computer science. Dr. Reberry takes a moment to answer a few questions about the event.

What did you do at the event?

We were able to listen to industry, government and education officials discuss computer science and the acceptance of computer science as foundational concepts for all content areas. We had the privilege of also meeting with Congressman Mike Simpson’s Education Liaison Solara Linehan. We were able to share the collaborative work being completed in Idaho around computer science.

Why was Idaho Digital Learning selected to attend?

Idaho Digital Learning is the Code.org Professional Learning Partner for the State of Idaho. We have been involved in collaboration and partnership with Code.org for the past three years. Idaho was the first state wide partnership for implementation.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about other Code.org programs?

Rural areas are prevalent throughout the United States. Other Professional Partners are working to design programs such as ours and there are opportunities to collaborate and share resources. We were excited to hear that Idaho was the first state to implement a hybrid model of delivering portions of this professional development for teachers and online courses for students. We are excited that we are working in partnership with Code.org to increase these offerings.

How do you feel this will benefit computer science in our state and nationally?

Code.org is sharing with Idaho and the nation the importance of students having a computer science background. Just as students understand the importance of chlorophyll to plant life, it’s just as important for students to understand how computers work. These different efforts are assisting in the understanding of the importance of computer science as a foundational course. Computer Science concepts can be integrated directly with current curriculum.   

Are there any fun facts you want to share?

Computer Science is officially accepted as part of STEM.

Is there anything else you want to tell the Idaho education community about this experience?

It takes all of us to move forward. Computer Science fundamentals is important for a 21st Century Education. Partnerships are important — work together in collaboration so that our students are the beneficiaries of the outcomes, ultimately creating a pipeline so that Idaho’s pipeline is aligned from K – 12 education to post-secondary education to industry.