Getting to the Fair
The 2014 GaETF will be held on March 8 at the Macon Campus of the Middle Georgia State College. Information about how to get there, local motels and restaurants, and things to do will be posted in February.
Who can participate in the Georgia Educational Technology Fair?
The GaETF is made up of the 1st place winners from the sixteen recognized regional technology fairs. The regional directors submit a list of the 1st place winners and that is the official entry list for GaETF.
What do I need to bring to the Tech Fair?
You must provide a computer and any peripherals that you need. You also need to bring an extension cord/power strip, your student consent form signed by your parents, and your written permissions for using any materials in your project that you did not produce yourself (photos, artwork, music, video, etc).
What will the Tech Fair provide to me?
The Georgia Educational Technology Fair does not provide any equipment except for one electrical outlet and table/desk space. While we recognize that the world is more connected than ever, we cannot guarantee internet access in the judging spaces and recommend that you have an off-line copy of any internet based project. See the category question regarding specific categories.
What things should not be brought to Tech Fair?
Students should not bring trifold displays, peripheral equipment unrelated to the project, any loud or dangerous materials, or anything deemed inappropriate at school.
What time should I arrive at the Tech Fair?
All judge times will be posted here no later than the first Monday in March and you will receive an e-mail with your judge time. There is no longer a setup window before judging starts. You should plan to arrive to register at least an hour before your assigned judge time. If you miss your judge time, there is no guarantee that there will be an empty slot for you to move into.
What happens when I get to the Tech Fair?
You will check in at the registration table where you will turn in your student consent form to receive your materials. You need to be in the area of judging no later than 30 minutes before your judging time. Parents are allowed to help deliver equipment to the judging area, but must immediately report to the waiting area. Because judge rooms are used multiple times, equipment should be removed at the end of judging. (Exception: in the high school area, equipment may be left set up)
Do I have to remain at the Tech Fair all day?
No, you only need to be at the Tech Fair from an hour before your judge time until after your project is judged. If you check in more than an hour before your assigned judge time, you may leave before judging, but be sure that you are back in time to set up and be ready for judging. If you are staying for the awards ceremony, you may leave after judging and return for the awards. You and your parents may use your free time to see the attractions.
What higher level of technology fair will I go to if I win the Georgia Educational Technology Fair?
At this time, there is no higher level of Technology Fair. A national Educational Technology Fair does not exist.
With what other projects will my project be compared?
All projects within a category in the same grade grouping will be judged by the same set of judges. For example, the same judges will see all 7-8 Digital Photography projects. Therefore, the same judges compare the attributes of every project that is competing in a given category and grade level.
How are the winning projects determined?
Teams of judges will interview each participant for no more than 15 minutes and see the project. If a project (video, slideshow, presentation, etc.) is longer than about five minutes, the judges will view just a portion of the project. The judges use a rubric guide (you may view the rubric guides here) and suggested questions to evaluate each project. After completing the judging of all projects in a grade/category, the judges will rank the projects and the top three will be awarded trophies. All decisions of the judges are final, and the Tech Fair staff do not change judging results.
The judges only viewed a portion of my project and not the whole thing. Why didn't they watch/look at the whole project?
The judges have a strict 15 minute window in which to judge a project. Judges are assessing a student's use of technology, not a finished product such as a video or powerpoint presentation. In order to interview the student about the project, ask questions, and fill out the student feedback form, the judges may view only a portion of a project. Judges are instructed to spend no more than five minutes viewing the actual project to leave time for the other aspects of judging. We strongly suggest that students limit all presentations to no more than three to five minutes so that judges may see the entire presentation.
Can I see the judge's materials after judging is over?
Judge's materials are not shared. Judges turn them over to fair officials until after the fair closes at which time they are destroyed. All decisions of the judges are final and fair officials do not change any judge's results. Tech Fair appreciates the dedication of the judges who give up a Saturday to help make the fair a reality and we stand by the decisions of the judges. In 2009, we instituted a student feedback form that all judges will provide to students after the judging interview to provide useful feedback with strengths and areas of improvement for the students.
If I am a member of a two student team, do both of us have to come to the state Tech Fair?
No, your project may be represented by one of the two student team or by both team members, but not by anyone else.
Do regional Tech Fairs use the same rules, scoring, and procedures as the state Tech Fair?
They may or may not. The 16 Regional Tech Fairs are independent entities. Each determines winners in somewhat different ways. Some are patterned closely after the state fair and others operate differently. Regardless of how the regional conducts its fair, the state Tech Fair follows the rules and procedures that are stated on the Georgia Educational Technology Fair website (www.Gatechfair.org). All participants in the GaETF are expected to know and to follow the rules and procedures of the GaETF.
Why don't you provide computers and other equipment?
In the first few years of Tech Fair, we provided computers. Students came to Tech Fair with newer versions of software than were loaded on the host computers and programs needing software not loaded on host computers. This caused students not to be able to have their projects judged. If each student brings a computer, software, and whatever peripherals are needed, then this situation will not occur.
Why don't you guarantee Internet access?
While we recognize that the world is more connected than ever, we cannot guarantee Internet access in the judging spaces and recommend that you have an off-line copy of any internet based project. Judges will not penalize a project for not connecting to outside links. In the past when the Tech Fair provided internet access, when the network failed or there were other interruptions in network services, then student projects could not be judged. If each student brings their web 2.0 project loaded on a hard drive, cd, or usb drive, then the browser can always access the project. Tech fair does not require that outside links on a project website work, so there is no penalty for outside links not working. After creating a website in whatever program/site a student chooses, there is free software that will download it onto a drive/cd to use at the fair.
If I want to do a project with a younger or older sibling or friend, how do we choose the grade classification?
The rules state that the project will be entered in the grade of the highest student. Any student, regardless of grade, may compete on a team with a student in a higher grade, but the project must be entered in the grade of the highest student. Any project found to be entered in a lower grade by a student in a higher grade classification will be disqualified.
The rules state that I must 'cite' all non-student produced materials and provide permissions where needed. What does this mean?
If you use any clipart, music, photos, text, or other material in your project that you did not personally create yourself, you must list the material on the project submission form that you are required to fill out online in february. If your material is determined to be 'in the public domain' and is available to use for free, you must list it and label it 'public domain.' if the material is not freely available, then you must obtain permission to use it from the owner/creator. Use of copyrighted material without permission will result in disqualification. These materials must be listed on the form and the written permission must be presented to the judges.
Why isn't the Tech Fair set up like a science fair with open viewing for parents and students?
Science fair judges evaluate projects in the absence of the student who created it. Projects are static displays that are set up and left for viewing by judges and visitors. Tech fair judging is interactive and involves judges meeting with the students who created the project. Most Tech Fair projects are not static displays and must be observed in operation. If judge interviewing were going on with visitors moving throughout the judging area, it would be very hard to hear and to focus on the project and student. Students come to the Tech Fair from all across georgia. To require setting up projects early and leaving them until after the Tech Fair is over is unfair to those who travel long distances. In the past, when we had a one hour preview period to observe projects, very few parents and even fewer students actually visited projects.
Can adults or other students help me with my project?
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to receive help from others when working on your project. However, the project is to be a work by the student or student team of two. Any help should be to assist the student in the creation of the project and judges will expect a student to explain any aspect of a project's function. If someone else helps you do something, be sure that you understand how to explain it to the judges.
If I win first place in my regional fair and I can't go to the Tech Fair due to illness or another commitment, can someone take my place?
No. Only the actual first place winner in each category from a recognized regional fair may attend the state Tech Fair. The official list of winners comes from the regional director. Also, the rules state: “students unable to present their projects, even due to illness, may not use "proxies." only students who are part of the original, registered team may represent a project."
If my project won at the regional fair in a category, but someone decides that it would be better to be in a different category, can I change my category?
No. The state Tech Fair will only accept projects in the category in which they competed at the regional fair. The submission of winners from the regional director serves as the official entry list and will not be changed by the state Tech Fair officials. The rules state: “students may not "switch" categories. The project will only be judged in the category in which it won first place at the regional fair. There will be no exceptions as confirmation emails will be sent to all fair participants prior to the fair to catch any registration mistakes.”
My region does not offer a category that I would like to enter. What can I do?
The state Tech Fair does not control the management of regional fairs. Some regional fairs do not offer all categories. You should check the website of your regional fair to be sure that your category is accepted. If that information is not on the regional website, contact your regional Tech Fair director.
I go to a private school or am homeschooled in a geographical area that is a recognized region. My region does not accept private schools or homeschooled students. What can I do?
The state Tech Fair does not control the management of regional fairs. Some regional fairs are open to all students in a recognized area. Some regional fairs are managed by a particular school system, either public or private, and do not accept projects from outside their school system. Your school can contact the regional director to inquire about adding your private school or your homeschool. Or, your school or homeschool can contact adjacent regions about the possibility of competing in that region. The list of regions and links is on the homepage of this website.
I live in an area where there is no recognized Tech Fair region. What is the process for starting a new region?
New regions may be recognized by the Georgia Educational Technology Fair by applying to the GaETF with the following stipulations: it must be a unique situation not included in a current region; single schools are not considered for regional designation; by the second year, a region should include a minimum of five schools and by the third year, a minimum of ten schools. Gaetf strongly recommends that all students in a geographical area be included in any region. All decisions regarding the recognition of regions are made by the GaETF steering committe. When a new region is recognized, GaETF will assist the sponsors in getting started and setting up their regional Tech Fair.
I heard that there is a scholarship awarded at the GaETF each year. Who is eligible and how do I apply?
Lou Dewberry, founder and director of the Tech Fair from its inception, passed away in 2007. The Lou Dewberry scholarship fund was established in her honor. All 12th grade students who have projects in the GaETF are automatically eligible and are entered into the random drawing to determine the recipient of each year's award. The awardee is announced at the beginning of the awards ceremony. Depending on business and other funding, there may be other scholarships awarded at the Tech Fair. The georgia educational technology consortium currently funds over $2,500 in scholarships to participating high school seniors.
What awards and scholarships are given at the Tech Fair?
Awards will be given in each grade/category for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. If you do not plan to attend the awards ceremony, please try to have someone pick up your award. Businesses and other entities fund scholarships that are awarded to high school seniors who have projects entered in the Tech Fair.