Students wow judges at tech rally

Published 10:17 am Monday, December 27, 2021

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Last week, students at Hutto Elementary School took part in a tech rally, where multiple teams showcased a semester long project to judges, hoping for the chance to win and move onto the regional tech rally competition.

HES Technology Instructor Samantha Palmer said the technology competition was held for students in 3rd-5th grade.

During the competition, students compete in various categories, before presenting their final project to the judges. The students are then placed in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place category based on how well their presentation and interview went.

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Palmer explained that all students at HES complete two technology classes prior to the competition as part of the standard curriculum: Digital Literacy 1 and Digital Literacy 2.

The teachers in charge of Digital Literacy 1 and 2 then select students based off how well they have already performed in technology to compete in the contest.

“All of the projects were completed at school,” Palmer said. “For some of these students, it was their first time ever hearing about technology or robotics.”

While the teachers assisted with projects and helped answer questions, Palmer said their goal is to have students compete and find something that interests them, before they move onto Middle School, where technology is completely optional for students to participate in.

The students have 13 different categories that could potentially interest them.

“The categories were designed to promote the skills needed to start building a workforce that we do not have a good flow for related to technology,” said Amy Zock, Director of Digital Learning for the Decatur County School Systems. “There are 20,000 jobs in Georgia related to technology that we do not have a workforce for.”

Zock reiterated that the whole idea of starting technology this early is to build interest in that industry area.

“We want to build a more technologically savvy generation that can handle those jobs,” she said. “In Georgia, 85% of schools offer Computer Science, but only 3% of kids take advantage of it.”

Zock said she is unsure if kids are afraid of the in-depth technology, but her hope is through fun competitions like these, kids will take a more active part in Computer Science and technology.

With that, the awards ceremony began, where students of all grade levels received awards for their creative pieces in animation, robotics, graphic design and more.