May 15, 2020
Jessica MoesStaff Writer
As students face a summer of being homebound because of COVID-19, they (and their parents) are actively looking for new opportunities to learn, explore and grow.
Best Buy is here to help.
Our Geek Squad Agents have created a suite of free online courses that are designed to ignite kids’ creativity and teach them new tech skills. Inspired by our popular Geek Squad Academy summer camps, the curriculum includes topics such as smartphone photography, binary code and how to build video games and websites.
“These virtual courses are designed to be easy to follow,” said Agent Justen Bristlin, who helped bring the online academy to life. “We try to stick to the Geek Squad Academy principle of everything being free or as accessible as possible with the tools you might already have in your home.”
The courses are designed for students between the ages of 9 and 18. And they’re written so that even the younger kids will be able to understand and lead themselves through the courses.
Normally, 1,200 Geek Squads Agents spend their summer volunteering at the two-day tech camps, where kids are able to try their hand at coding robots, creating computers and more. Last year, more than 10,000 young people attended camps in 60 locations. But with the current COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders in place across the country, most of these events will not take place.
That prompted a team of Agents from across the United States and Canada to explore new ways to bring tech learning to teens at home.
“We were fortunate to have such a wide network of skilled Agents whose knowledge we could draw upon in creating these courses,” Justen said. “Never underestimate the power of Geek Squad Agents when tasked with a problem to solve.”
Currently, the virtual Geek Squad Academy platform offers four courses:
- Bending Binary introduces teens to binary, the language that all computers run on. In this course, teens learn how to convert text to binary and learn how to send coded messages that their friends can decipher. No tech equipment required.
- Game with Godot allows teens to use a free software platform to build their own video games that can be played on Macs, PCs or Android devices.
- Picture Perfect is a course designed for kids to become photography experts — no fancy equipment required. Using a smartphone and free editing software, teens can learn the ins and outs of capturing the perfect shot.
- Web Know-How teaches teens how to create their own websites using basic HTML principles. The platform is designed to be used on any computer with internet access.
The team plans to add more courses in the weeks and months ahead.
Click here to visit the virtual Geek Squad Academy website.