In the digital world of today, we have so many opportunities to explore and learn. We have blogs, wikis, web-tours, blended learning, online simulations, online classes, and the list goes on. So, here’s my question, where does the traditional science fair fit into the digital world of today? I took some time to investigate what’s out there and also share my current contribution to Science Fair + The Digital World!
As with any topic, there are countless resources for those interested in participating in a science fair as well as those interested in running a science fair. Beyond the level of basic science fair information, there are a number of “Virtual Science Fairs”.
1. Google Science Fair
Google launched their own global science fair in 2011. Over 10,000 projects were submitted in 2011, from almost 100 different countries! The Google Science Fair is open to students ages 13-18. The fair season typically runs from January to early April. Google Science Fair site also offers an excellent Educator Toolkit. I’m happy to say that some of my science club students participated in the Google fair this year and last year!
2. Internet Science and Technology Fair
I was surprised to find out that my own college, The University of Central Florida, hosts a virtual science fair too. The Internet Science and Technology Fair offers a vast website with lots for information and tools for newcomers. I hope to spend more time reviewing this site and have some of my science club students participate next year.
3. NAIS Virtual Science Fair
The National Association of Independent Schools also offers a virtual science fair. The NAIS Virtual Science Fair is taking applications for the 2013 season.
4. FLVS Virtual Science Fair
Even though my contribution regarding science fairs in the digital world is much smaller in comparison to those listed above, I feel the Florida Virtual School Virtual Science Fair is worth a mention. Plus, I’ve been the coordinator of this fair for the past 4 years, so I have first hand experience I wanted to share! This year marks our sixth year offering the FLVS Virtual Science Fair to our, grades 6 – 12, FLVS students. Over the past four years that I have been involved, our fair has grown each year. Students have worked on their projects since January / February. At the mid April project deadline, students submitted a PowerPoint presentation of their project. In addition, a unique quality involved in this fair includes a mandatory online presentation via BlackBoard Collaborate, an online web conferencing service. Student presentations for the 2012 fair will be held at 7pm on April 19, 2012, however, the presentations are closed to the public.
The traditional science fair is a well established and extremely valuable experience. However, in this digital world of today, it is great to see there are numerous opportunities for both traditional and online fairs, for all students, across the state, country and globe. I encourage all teachers to see how they might be able to contribute to a local or virtual effort. Students that participate in science fairs really experience a cross curricular benefit, while exploring science, math and technology.