Ninth Annual Virginia Children's Engineering Convention
Harpine, Linda, Technology and Children
The Virginia Children's Engineering Convention is an annual event that focuses on technological awareness for students in Grades K-5 and features hands-on teacher activities, best practice discussions, displays of student work, idea swaps, and vendor displays.
The goals of the convention are to provide the opportunity for elementary school educators to share experiences related to their success in providing classroom activities that:
* Explore how people create, use, and control technology.
* Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, English, history, and social science in solving problems associated with technology.
* Use tools and materials to explore technology.
The Virginia Technology Education Association (VTEA) has sponsored the convention since its inception in 1997. In recent years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Center for Distance Learning at Langley Research Center has cosponsored the event.
The 2005 convention's opening general session featured Dr. Gary Benenson, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the City College of New York and co-author of Stuff That Works! Dr. Benenson's address emphasized the importance of using artifacts and problems from children's own environments as sources for analysis and design technology.
The three-day convention combines elementary school teachers and administrators participating in a variety of concurrent special interest sessions. These sessions focus on curriculum strategies that build upon state standards of learning, with emphasis on design, problem solving, and technology experiences. A popular convention session in 2005, "Administrators and Instructional Leaders Panel," addressed the "hows and whys" of implementing a successful elementary design and technology program. Moderated by George Willcox, the panel was comprised of three elementary principals who discussed the keys to organizing an elementary children's engineering program and then fielded questions from the audience. …