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Tech Competition FAQs

Technology Competition

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When is the registration window?
Opens: January 9, 2017
Closes: January 11, 2017

Who does the registering?
Each school will have a designated liaison who will register the entrants. After you are registered by your school liaison, you will be given information on how to input some specific information into the state database.

Why do I have to register for the GAETF before the regional competition?
The Georgia Educational Technology Fair (GAETF) collects some information on all regional contestants in order to plan for the state competition. The information collected by the GAETF is only to help in planning and funding purposes and will not be shared or sold to any other organization.

What do I do with the GAETF number?
Once you register on the state database, you will need to print the GAETF confirmation page (or bring your GAETF confirmation number) and bring it to the Fulton County competition to show at student check-in. You MUST have the GAETF confirmation number in order to compete at the regional competition.

Are there any changes from last year's competition guidelines?
Due to major changes in the state tech fair (GAETF) there are some major changes in our regional competition. There are quite a few category name changes, 2 new category additions, and a major modification of one category. Please use this chart as your reference.  

How many projects may a student enter?
A student may register for ONE project in the Fulton County Technology Competition. A student may enter as an individual or as a member of a team, but NOT BOTH.

How many projects may be entered from each school?
Only one entry per grade grouping in each category will be accepted from each school. This will enable us to utilize our judging times more effectively. For example, Robotics may enter one project per level category as explained above. Elementary may send one 3-4 Robotics project and one 5-6 Robotics project. Middle may send one 5-6 Robotics project and one 7-8 Robotics project. High may send one 9-10 Robotics project and one 11-12 Robotics project. This rule applies to ALL categories.

How many students may be on a team?
A team consists of two students only. These rules are consistent with the state tech fair rules.

What if team members are in different age groupings?
If the grade levels of team members fall in two different age groupings, the team must compete in the age grouping of the older student. These rules are consistent with the state tech fair rules.

Must both team members attend the competition?
The team can be represented by one registered member.

TIMEFRAME

What time do I need to be there?
Students will receive a judging appointment time again this year. Students must check in at least thirty minutes before their appointment time. Our judges are on a strict time schedule and each project must be judged at the given time. Due to the heavy number of students competing we cannot accommodate late arrivals regardless of the reason.

There will be no changing or trading of times after the appointments have been set. There will be absolutely no trading of times on the day of the competition. The times have been arranged to consider all the projects in each category, the room placement, grade level groupings, and the awards ceremony. Due to the heavy number of students competing we cannot accommodate late arrivals regardless of the reason.

If you compete in the Tech Programming Challenge, formerly known as Individual Programming Challenge, you will have two different reporting times. ALL Tech Programming Challenge Participants must check in at 8:30 AM to be in place at 9 AM. At 9 AM, the students will be given their challenge and 2 hours to complete it. The second time is your judging time. When the two hours are over the contestants leave all their project materials in the judging room. In 15 minute intervals, the participant meets with the judge to show and explain their project.

JUDGING

How long will the judging process be for each entrant?
Each entrant will be allotted a maximum of 15 minutes for judging. This time includes viewing a portion of the finished project and interviewing of the student(s) on the creation process of the project.

What grade levels are judged together?
Our grade groupings are based on the grade groupings at the state competition. Grade groupings are 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. The grade groupings will be judged throughout the day. Appointment times are set to maximize the judges' time, the available room space, and the various categories.

Is the team competition separate, or are they judged together with individual entries?
As is done at the state level, in categories where teams are permitted, teams and individuals compete against each other. (Tech Programming Challenge, formerly Individual Programming Challenge, is for individual entrants only.)

Is a notebook required this year?
No, a 1-page document will be filled out by students, prior to their arrival at the competition, which will answer a few questions for the judges and will document required permissions.

What time does my student compete as he/she has other commitments that day?
Each project will be assigned a specific judging time. The student must check in at least 30 minutes before the scheduled judge time, but they can leave after they have been judged. The awards ceremony is planned to begin no earlier than 4 PM. When registration is closed, we will give a more specific time as we will know how many projects have been entered. Due to many factors, specific judging times cannot be requested. Due to the heavy number of students competing we cannot accommodate late arrivals regardless of the reason.

Do I have to remain at the Tech Competition all day?
No, you only need to be at the Tech Competition from thirty minutes 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, 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. Awards ceremony time will be announced on the day of the fair, but depending on the number of entries, typically starts around 4:00 pm. Due to the heavy number of students competing we cannot accommodate late arrivals regardless of the reason.

What awards are given at the Tech Competition?
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.

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 two 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 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 medals. All decisions of the judges are final, and the Tech Competition staff does not change judging results.

I notice on the schedule that I'm the only student in a specific grade grouping of a category. Do I automatically win first place and go to the state competition?
No, judges will award First, Second, and Third place medals to those projects which excel in their categories, based on the rubrics and student interviews. Medals in all categories will be awarded using this criteria, regardless of the number of projects entered in a particular category. On rare occasions, our judges have deemed that a project simply doesn't meet the standards to represent Fulton County at the GAETF. We respect the right of our judges to make these decisions and all judges decisions are final. 

All first place winners in each category will advance to and have the honor of representing Fulton County Schools in the state competition. A student must be present at the competition and be interviewed by the judges in order to win. In the case of a team, only one person has to be present at the competition. No proxies or substitutions are allowed.

Can I see the judge's materials after judging is over?
Judge's materials are not shared. Judges turn them over to Competition officials until after the Competition closes at which time they are destroyed. All decisions of the judges are final and Competition officials do not change any judge's results. Tech Competition planners appreciate the dedication of the judges who give up a Saturday to help make the Competition a reality and we stand by the decisions of the judges.

Why isn't the Tech Competition 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 Competition judging is interactive and involves judges meeting with the students who created the project. Most Tech Competition 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 Competition from all across the county. We have a limited time in the building and to require the students and volunteers to arrive early and stay late after the competition is not feasible. In the past, when we had a one hour preview period to observe projects, it was difficult to closing the viewing time and get the judging started.

Why can't you post some samples of previous projects so that we can see an example of a project?
There are several reasons for not posting pictures of previous projects. When the projects are being judged, and are therefore available to have a picture taken, we have no idea who has some of the best projects to use for a sample. We would have to take pictures of every project, which would require a photographer in every room, and then match up those pictures with the winners. Then those photos would need to be edited and compressed for viewing on the website. In addition, although a student may have permission to use a copyrighted item on the project that copyright permission doesn't extend to us for use on our website.

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 my project won at my local school in one category, but someone decides that it would be better to be in a different category, can I change my category?
No. The GAETF will ONLY accept projects in the category in which they competed at their local school. The submission of winners from the school liaison serves as the official entry list and will not be changed by the Tech Competition officials. The rules state: “Students may not "switch" categories. The project will ONLY be judged in the category in which it was registered by the local school liaison. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS as confirmation emails will be sent to all school liaisons prior to the competition to catch any registration mistakes.

I can't be here for my judge time. Can I switch with a friend?
No. We do not allow any changes in schedule, as it is a balance of categories, grade levels, judging space, and judging times. Changes in judging time could result in other students not being judged fairly or a great delay in the awards ceremony. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your judging time and understand that you will have 15 minutes prior to your judging time to set up your project. (Robotics will have 20 minutes for set up.)

VOLUNTEERS

How many volunteers must each school provide for the Technology Competition?
Each school needs to provide a liaison for the Competition to handle registration as well as communication between the school and the Technology Competition Committee. In addition, each participating school must submit the name of at least one volunteer for the day of the competition. Schools who have not submitted the name of both volunteers will not be allowed to register any projects.

LOCAL TECHNOLOGY COMPETITION

Must there be a Technology Competition in my school?
No school is required to have a local competition as long as there is some process at the local school level to determine which students may compete in the Fulton County Competition. In keeping with the limitations described above, a local school competition is not a requirement. If the school DOES have a local competition, it should be held before January 9 since registration closes at midnight on January 11.