Students may be wondering about completing their science projects & experiments without meeting at school or in person. But don’t despair! COVID-19 pandemic has bought a lot of change within the education system, operations and management. Today, there are numerous options available for colleges to plan, organize, and showcase their student’s talent. Virtual science fair software is one core support not to miss in these challenging times.
The virtual science exhibition is gaining ground this year. Many schools are adopting them widely because they offer the same standards as a traditional event.
The innovative virtual science fair software allows students to share their work, receive feedback on their projects and helps them think like scientists. In today’s post, let us focus on virtual science fair presentation, planning & strategy.
Table of Contents
- 1 Hybrid Learning is the New!
- 1.1 1) Working on the virtual science fair presentation format
- 1.2 2) Working on the virtual science exhibition venue
- 1.3 3) Who will be your virtual science fair presentation audience – students of your school or class or the whole community?
- 1.4 4) Will your science fair be judged & any awards shall be given?
- 1.5 5) Name the project and set the date for your virtual science exhibition
- 1.6 6) Let students choose and commence their projects
- 1.7 7) Plan the timeline with check-in points
- 1.8 8) Requesting feedback during the virtual science exhibition
- 1.9 9) Congratulate students’ participation
Hybrid Learning is the New!
In fright of the recent pandemic, most students across the globe are favoring remote learning and are considering STEM education as the one best choice for completing their science projects.
A virtual science exhibition offers a unique touch to projects by enabling video tutorials and virtual presentations. Students can go above and beyond related to their projects, research thoroughly, think creatively, plan, work, evaluate and even judge & receive feedback on their projects instantly online.
So, here are the nine informative tips on how to run a virtual science exhibition during this pandemic?
1) Working on the virtual science fair presentation format
The virtual science fair allows participants to visit virtual booths organized by topic. Taking advantage of the virtual science fair software tools and systems, students can now present and share their projects globally.
There are two parallel options for the presentation format. The first is an interactive project format in which students get to do “hands-on” with science materials. And the second is digital presentations that allow students to create display boards.
2) Working on the virtual science exhibition venue
To participate in a science fair or view other science projects, students will no longer need to visit a school. Instead, with the virtual science fair software, now they can present as well as watch other science projects online. Students can upload their projects to an online gallery where other students or participants can join, view and discuss the submitted project.
Here is, how your students can make the most of the virtual science fair presentation?
- Have students present their projects one at a time with Zoom, Google Meet, VeeSpaces or other similar programs. Recording the event enables for asynchronous access. So, if you plan to record and share the virtual science fair, you will have to hold the live event over several classes and make the recordings available to viewers.
- Students can create short videos explaining their projects and outcomes. These videos could be shared with the rest of the class as a virtual science fair presentation, uploaded to a private YouTube channel, or shared on a virtual science fair software like VeeSpaces.
- Encourage your students to use multimedia tools, like PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi. Consider creating a virtual science fair webpage that includes sharing all their projects with easy access to each presentation.
So, what is the best approach for your school?
We suggest schools must choose an approach depending on the type of technology and systems they have & how their classrooms work.
3) Who will be your virtual science fair presentation audience – students of your school or class or the whole community?
Have questions about how to promote your virtual science fair? Here is your answer.
If you choose to send emails about the fair to student families, you should do this at the beginning and at least once in the middle of the process. If other communities or schools will be joining/participating in the event, you should plan to announce it in a school newsletter and social media platforms several times before the virtual science exhibition to make sure that it goes well.
4) Will your science fair be judged & any awards shall be given?
Want your event to be judged? Then, it’s crucial to recruit judges early and make plans for a scoresheet. If you are planning for oral presentations, it is vital to have a student practice or training session hosted in advance so that judges can see & evaluate their virtual science fair presentation.
5) Name the project and set the date for your virtual science exhibition
Explain the guidelines to students beforehand. Make sure students have a clear understanding of the requirements of the complete virtual science fair presentation. Share them, details like
- What is expected from them related to science projects or the fair?
- How should they present their project?
- How their assignments will be graded? etc.
Also, mention the prize details in the guidelines provided. It is vital to clarify the difference in expectations for science fair participation and project requirements.
6) Let students choose and commence their projects
Students must first start their research on various topics. Take help from mentors & teachers wherever necessary to pick a suitable project for their virtual science fair presentation. Let them select an ideal topic and submit it for approval to the authorities. Students interested in pursuing multiple projects must list out their interests as priorities in submissions. So that the teachers can finalise the best project for them.
7) Plan the timeline with check-in points
Breaking projects into steps simplifies the process. For e.g., due dates for students to submit, turn in, or get feedback as they work on their projects ensures they stay on track. With check-in points built into the assignment, you will be able to easily check out your students’ progress on their projects.
8) Requesting feedback during the virtual science exhibition
One rewarding and educational part of a science fair is the thought process associated with answering questions about your project. If possible, incorporate a question/answer element into your virtual science fair exhibit. Strategies include
- We recommend that you have an organized Q&A session after each presentation. For shorter presentations, have a Q&A session that lasts 5-7 minutes max.
- If you are presenting live to a larger audience (e.g., students, judges, and others) with a remote meeting tool: encourage the “audience” to use the chat feature to ask questions. At the end of the presentation, the teacher (or designated helper) should read one or two of the questions to the student who will answer them. Keeping the number of questions to a minimum will prevent students from getting overwhelmed with questions during this event. Also, this way all students will get an equal opportunity to answer at least one question at the science fair.
- If projects are shared online for asynchronous viewing: set up a spreadsheet (or Google Form) where comments or questions can be entered or allow students to email their thoughts to a teacher. Teachers can also assign a writing response in Google Classroom in addition to the post-event assessment. One idea is to have students write a reflection.
9) Congratulate students’ participation
Even if awards are limited & offered to special projects, don’t forget to recognize & appreciate the hard work and scientific achievements of all participants. All students must have enjoyed the new approach, doing projects on their own and learned something in the process! Appreciating their effort would be a great plus.
It’s never too late to become the scientist you’ve always wanted to be.
Virtual science fair software provides a way to streamline your school’s response to the pandemic without interrupting STEM education. Students still have the opportunity to participate through a remote venue and continue to learn hands-on STEM inquiry and exploration. Any science fair process doesn’t have to be overly complicated and should encourage students to use technology tools aligned with STEM principles, promoting exciting collaborative projects.
Forethought and planning are essential for any school/college. Leave some room for inevitable hiccups in the process, and some issues that may come up unexpectedly. Be patient, be flexible, and plan ahead!