College to welcome Syracuse youths to Youth Technology Day

SUNY Oswego School of Education students will share the fun and fascination of hands-on technology with Syracuse City School District students at Quest on April 13.

Oswego technology students working with Mexico High School studentsYouth Technology Day—teachers-to-be sharing knowledge with middle and high school students—began in spring 2007. In its eighth semester, Youth Technology Day is a Quest production this spring.

The biannual event brings 50 to 80 Syracuse City School District middle and high school students to SUNY Oswego to learn about technology from future teachers. Quest is the college’s annual celebration of faculty and student scholarship and creativity.

Model hovercrafts and spaghetti bridges, catapults launching pingpong balls and a magnetic levitation track are among the attractions of Youth Technology Day.

Mark Springston, founder of Youth Technology Day and assistant professor of technology at Oswego, said Quest is the perfect setting for the younger students to visit. The college and city students—some semesters, students come from school districts in Oswego County—can see and support Youth Technology Day and Quest at work.

“I always wanted to be a part of Quest, just because of the spirit,” said Springston, who founded Youth Technology Day after he saw a void in authentic teaching experiences for his class in “Teaching Methods for Technology Education.”

Youth Technology Day allows technology education majors to learn about organization of the classroom, keeping students’ attention and designing age-appropriate activities.

Increased attendance

In the beginning, the program could only host 30 to 50 middle or high school students. With the help of Michael Nehring, assistant professor of technology, and his teaching methods course, the program now hosts up to nearly double the students each Youth Technology Day.

The Oswego students plan, organize and teach. Examples of units from past semesters include designing cardboard boats to hold weight and travel across a pool, and using Photoshop to learn about digital photography exposure. The professors mentor the college students and work with coordinators from school districts to bring the younger students to the college.

Elizabeth Woodford, a senior technology education major, looks forward to her first Youth Technology Day, which will include planning an activity and working one-on-one with students. She credits the technology department and its faculty with being the best in the state, possibly the country.

The day “just confirms my belief that I chose the right career path, I chose the right field and some of those students could do the same,” Woodford said.

In past semesters, Youth Technology Day organizers have worked with the Liberty Partnership Program, Mexico High School and a BOCES program. This semester they have invited students from the Syracuse district as an initiative to expose less advantaged students to college.

Students will:

* Make 72-piece puzzles using Photoshop and heat transfer
* Build model wind turbines and test voltage output
* Design, draft and make a model of a video game controller
* Craft model bridges out of spaghetti and hot glue, testing the structure with weight
* Build model hovercrafts and learn about uses for the technology
* Use a magnetic track and wind to learn about magnetic levitation vehicles
* Build models of catapults to shoot ping-pong balls into a basket, used to teach about trajectory, history and physics
* Build a car designed to protect a raw egg while traveling down a ramp

Through Youth Technology Day, middle and high school students will see what it is like to be a student at SUNY Oswego. They will take tours of campus and have a chance to learn in a college classroom setting. In return, the school districts and their students understand this is a chance to improve the quality of teachers-to-be graduating from SUNY Oswego.

“They’re going back to their school very excited that they’ve had this learning experience, but it’s so outside of the normal classroom day,” Nehring said.

PHOTO CAPTION: Hands-on science—Mexico High School students, foreground, work on an interactive project with SUNY Oswego technology education majors John Root, left rear, and Brett Bernhard during a recent Youth Technology Day. Youth Technology Day founder Mark Springston, assistant professor of technology at Oswego, moved the youthful celebration of technology teaching to Quest for the attractions and views of college life it will provide for visiting middle and high school students.

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(Posted: Apr 07, 2011)

Tags: technology