Thursday, January 13, 2011

Global Web 2.0 Science Fair

The most dynamic school projects inevitably revolve around those science fairs where students can test their hypotheses and their inquiry skills. Now Google has teamed up with National Geographic, CERN, Scientific America, and Lego to create the ultimate online global Science Fair.

It's open to full-time students ages 13 to 18, who are encouraged to use the broad range of Google products to record and share their work. "We want to let kids use our online tools so they can participate from anywhere in world," a spokesperson said. "They may be home schooled or live in a remote place or not have a physical science fair in their area." They do, however, need an Internet connection.

In launching the competition a self-taught scientist from Malawi, Africa, talked about the direct impact that science can have, not just on society at large, but on an individual community. "From reading a library book the son of a farmer and one of seven kids, learned how to build a wind mill, which powers his family's house and pumps water in an impoverished area. He taught his neighbors how to build wind mills, too, which have transformed schools and improved conditions in the village."

Another spokesperson was a 15-year-old dynamo from Portland, Oregon. She began programming computers at age 5, enrolled in community college at 12. One of the young budding scientist's experiments was using artificial intelligence to route robots and assist nurses in her local hospital.

"The goal of the Google Science Fair isn't just to give great prizes, including a trip to the Galapagos Islands and $110,000 in scholarships. It's to foster more interest in science worldwide and to come up with much-needed solutions to local and global problems."

"We want kids to make a difference in the world," says a Google spokesperson. "They can be agents of change."

An introductory, instruction video from Google provides an overview of how to handle all elements of the project online. Here is the logical extension of Web 2.0 in a perfect application! I can imagine that this competition will produce some exciting results.

From a report by Fast Company.