Every April, the Iowa Technology and Education Connection (ITEC) hosts a student tech fair. Currently, these fairs are held in Sioux City (Western Fair), Ames (Central Fair), and Cedar Falls (Eastern Fair). Entrants are allowed to sign up for any fair based upon schedule and availability, but there is a limit on entries, especially the Central Fair.
The goal of the student fair is to give students a chance to showcase their talents and the school's use of technology through new software programs and apps. Projects may fall under one of nine categories: 3D rendering/non-linear animation, graphics/publishing, innovative technology use, mobile apps, multimedia, music and sound design, programming, video or linear presentation, web presence. Each group of students is assigned a presentation time. During the duration of the fair, anyone can visit other student or sponsor booths, but the real presentation occurs at the assigned time, where a team of judges visits and scores the presentation.
As judging gets wrapped up, ribbons are handed out to participants. Red ribbons carry a significance of participation. Blue ribbons, on the other hand, represent both participation and a good presentation, and earning this ribbon can give one a chance to earn a purple ribbon.
The purple ribbons are awarded at the event's closing ceremony. These ribbons are given to students whose presentations and ideas stand out. Purple-ribbon winners are given the opportunity to present at the ITEC Conference in October. However, unlike the other ribbons, each winning group only gets one ribbon.
We have been attending the Central Fair since April 2009. At that time, there was no Cedar Falls fair, and we find that the Central Fair fits in our schedules better. This fair is held at ISU in a relaxed, booth format. Snacks and refreshments are provided, and the freedom to visit booths adds on to a welcoming environment at the venue. The student booths of larger schools are usually grouped together based on school and presentation category while smaller schools tend to be peppered around the area.
In the past three years, the presentation venue and format for purple-ribbon-winning-presentations has changed. In 2011, the venue was at a convention center in downtown Des Moines, and winners were assigned a time block and room, where they would present to other people sharing their time block. However, in 2012 and 2013, the venue was at the Hall of Pride building, and the booth format of the student fair was used for the conference. Vendors and students share space; the conference is meant for educators.
This whole process is open to anyone K-12, and ideas are never restricted. This fair is a perfect chance to show the world your ideas and talents, and friends are easily made. Is this the opportunity you have always dreamt of? For more information, go to: http://www.itec-ia.org/en/tech_fair/categories_and_rubrics/
Blog Post Written by Sanah and Sabah Munir,
HS Tech Team Members