We recently held our Fourth Annual Technology Fair for the Georgetown County School District in Georgetown, SC. By the very nature of the fair, “Technology” was the star…and that is true to an extent. But the Technology Fair is much more than that once you dig a little deeper into the essence of the event.
There were five different Categories in which students and teachers signed up to compete: (1) Creativity, (2) Communication and Collaboration, (3) Creative Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, (4) Innovation, and (5) Educator. We had Kindergarten-2nd grade students showing off Power Points and Paper Slide Videos. We had 3rd – 5th graders showing off Web Quests and Little Bird Tales. There were 6-8th graders solving problems with Robotics and introducing Padlets, Weebly web sites, and Prezi presentations. High School students were creating programs for Apps and Weather Balloons, and Flipped Classrooms. Teachers were introducing unique strategies and “paperless Classrooms” in the Educator Category.
The aforementioned are just a few examples of what was presented among the over 400 students and 60 teachers. What was really impressive was what they learned along the way. Students learned to find, navigate through and document relevant and important pieces of information. Furthermore, they learned to take that information and make more informed decisions in creating products and projects.
Students learned to work together in pairs and in groups more efficiently. Some began to show leadership qualities by delegating different jobs within the group, while others learned to be the followers and pull their own load for the project to be completed.
Students learned how to dig a little deeper into “how” and “why” to be able to think critically on a deeper level…and find ways to solve problems for their projects…a skill they will certainly develop more and more as they get older and progress in their school or in their careers.
Using all of the things they have experienced as they were producing a Tech Fair Project, students formed a hypothesis, used trial and error, and dared to create and innovate…to design original and unique projects.
The skill set that students were exposed to, and learned to manipulate for the good of the project itself, will be an invaluable part of their life’s toolbox. Learning by doing…taking the risk…not being afraid to fail…driven to succeed…the journey starts with the first step. The more we can provide our students with the opportunities to utilize these skills, the better off they will be while they are in our classrooms, and long after. And besides, isn't that the goal.
The Technology Fair definitely isn’t just about Technology.