OpenWorld Learning TechFair


Today we have a post from our very own Lindsay Craig, SparkFun's Educational Outreach Coordinator, detailing his experience at the OpenWorld Learning fair. Check it out:

What’s cooler than kids learning by using technology? When the kids are using technology and winning SparkFun prizes they can use to take the next step in their education, of course!


All the entrants with their projects set-up.

On May 14th, OpenWorld Learning hosted their second Annual Colorado TechFair at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. OpenWorld Learning asked me, SparkFun’s Educational Outreach Coordinator, to help judge their Game Design category. I think OpenWorld Learning and what they do is awesome so I drove down to Denver with a trunk full of SparkFun kits to add to the laptops that the winners would receive.

I tend to get cranky when I haven’t had lunch and I wanted to judge fairly, so first I grabbed a burger at Steve’s Snapping Dogs (delicious) and headed to the TechFair just in time to catch some robotics projects before judging.


A few of the winners from the Techfair. Notice the red boxes!

There were many different games built in one of two applications, Scratch and MicroWorlds. The entrants were mainly OpenWorld Learning attendees ranging from the age of 7 to 14. I got to check out all the sweet games and heard some great presentations on the triumphs, trials and tribulations of creating an amateur computer game (something I’m fairly familiar with). The winner of Game Design, Nalelly, gave a polished presentation of her Nail Graphics game that left me with the distinct impression that she would be addressing large amounts of people in the future.


It was awesome to see so much excitement coming from the competitors.

I was also very impressed with Jorge’s five minutes of animation. Having done animation myself, I know what a process it is for one person to put together a short. You should have seen this guy when he won the animation category. He jumped out of his chair to accept the prize wearing a luchador () mask and enough energy to power a small jetpack. Talk about awesome!

I perused various things of interest including the museum’s Space Odyssey and North American Indian Culture exhibits before getting back into my car and heading up Highway 36 back to Boulder. All in all, indubitably an interesting, auspicious day. It was a great opportunity and we are looking forward to more events in the future!
 


Comments 5 comments

  • We will definitely be doing more posts about outreach like this as they happen.

  • Now if only we could take some of that money we are sending to Pakistan and put it into programs like this.
    I think this deserves more than one homepage post :)

    • No kidding! We live in a world driven by technology, yet it is hardly touched upon by the education systems, especially for the younger ones. Events and projects contributing to education should be given much more consideration AND funding. Afterall, all of us here know that technology can be made fun!

      • I agree. We really need to get kids interested in technology again (and not just on the consumer side). As much as I love art and theater, it’s a bit concerning to me that there are currently more graduates in Visual and Performing Arts than there are in Engineering. Psychology’s bigger than either, and there are more Social Science and History majors than Engineering and Arts combined (from NCES).
        Luckily, there are plenty of amazing inventors and “engineers” who didn’t take the college route to get to where they are, though. :)

  • Awesome to see there are still competitions like this. I wish the news put more emphasis on this instead of the school closures.


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