Science Fair + The Digital World?

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.


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5 thoughts on “Science Fair + The Digital World?

  1. Kim
    What a GREAT topic this week! Kudos on your blog about science fair and technology. Instantly, I thought of ALL those poster board displays. I know several families who have them stored in their garages not wanting to get rid of all the sweat, tears, and hours that they put into those things! With the topic of science fair, I am thinking here is an area where the schools really are being old-fashioned and behind the latest and greatest (not to mention, it’s GREENER to use technology instead of poster board). How many companies are presenting their information on poster board displays? Probably none! They are all using the technology we have been learning about this semester.

    I also did not know that UCF had a virtual science fair. I appreciated those little tidbits and your research into google and other resources.

    Great job this week!
    ~Bren H.

  2. kdturner26

    What great resources! Thank you so much for the time you put into your blog looking that information up! I homeschool and lead some educational groups. I think a virtual science fair would be a wonderful addition to our lessons.

    I remember doing the science fair when I was in school and I remember those tri-fold boards and all of the cutting and pasting to make things look “pretty” on them. After we finished I had nothing to do with that board but not possibly throw it away after all the work that had gone into it. I think it is wonderful that you had some of your students participate in a virtual fair. I also completely agree with Bren that it is so much better for the environment. Could you image the about of tri-fold boards out there from science fairs?!?!?!

    Thanks again for all of the information. It is very obvious that you put a lot of time into your blog this week!
    Kristen G.T.

  3. Tiffany Timmer

    I enjoyed reading your post. I had actually never even heard of virtual science fairs. I think that is an awesome idea. I only knew of the science fairs we always did in school with the tri-fold boards. This is a great way to get students to submit projects. I am considering teaching online and am happy to have these resources. Thanks so much.

  4. Lydia

    Thanks for sharing these excellent resources. I had no idea of all of these wonderful online opportunities. With all of the talk of virtual field trips that I’ve been hearing your links are very relevant. I will book mark these are share them with my co-workers. =)

    It seems to me that these technology savvy ways to display would make things more exciting for the students. At my school most of them aren’t thrilled when the science fair time comes around. Technology draws them into other subjects I would theorize that it would be the same for science.

    Thanks for sharing,


  5. Manual Fehribach

    Everyone has seen the tired old science fair project, such as the volcano or the styrofoam solar system, which have been favorites of many parents for what feels like generations. These projects are relatively simple and easy from the parent’s point of view, but they are incredibly bad choices for the children involved. Why?These are the kind of projects that are so well-known that even the students know what is going to happen. And when that happens, the students are not learning anything, and their performance suffers during the presentation portion of science fairs because of it. Science fair judges have gotten bored with these types of projects, and that’s a big problem for students who endeavor to win prizes in their science fair. In the end, this kind of project is only really good for the parents, and surprisingly, these kinds of projects are not even particularly cheap!`

    My web-site

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