On Friday, we hosted the ITEC Student Technology Fair at the University of Northern Iowa. ITEC is the Iowa Technology and Education Connection organization for teachers who are interested in educational technology. Every year we sponsor 3 student technology fairs across the state: Ames, Sioux City and Cedar Falls. These student technology fairs provide a venue for students from 3rd - 12th grade to share what they have been doing with technology. It's not about the technology but it's about what students can achieve and explore with these tools.
This year's Cedar Falls fair was incredible. The quality of work was beyond anything that I have ever seen at our fairs. The students ranged from 8 to 18 years old. They displayed imagination and innovation that exceeded past years' fairs. Blue and Red ribbons are awarded, but Purple Ribbons are presented to exceptional projects that "stand out" from the rest. The Purple Ribbon award winners are invited to present their projects at our October ITEC conference in Des Moines. Purple Ribbons were awarded to 5 of the 46 projects displayed. This is a higher ratio than ever before.
The projects included:
- A team of 13 year olds from the Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School (in Waterloo) who had learned the Python programming language on their own and created an anti-abduction program. The intent was to create a program for a safety button that would send GPS coordinates to a parent if a child gets in trouble and presses the button. They were already working with law enforcement to develop this project.
- Students from Metro Alternative High School in Cedar Rapids who were using CNC programming to run a mill to create molds for making candy bars advertising the school. They had just begun another project where they were created molded soap that said "Wash Away Stereotypes."
- Students from Grinnell High School who had "hard coded" a website entitled Permissions Impossible which worked as an online dictionary describing app permissions.
- A 16-year "George Lucas" from Maquoketa High School who uses the Adobe Creative Suite to create an amazing video, Technology in School.
- A 17-year old from Oelwein High School who had created 3D images to redesign a oil refinery for a company in Arizona.
It was an extraordinary fair with extraordinary projects by extraordinary people.
I hope that you can attend our fair next year. It will be in early April.
Do your students get an opportunity to participate in a Student Technology Fair such as this?