About Us

The Virginia Children’s Engineering Council, formally titled Virginia Council on Elementary School Technology Education (ESTE), focuses on providing teachers in grades K-5 professional development experiences that enable them to help children:

  • explore how people create, use, and control technology
  • apply knowledge of mathematics, science, English, and history and social studies in solving problems associated with technology
  • use tools and materials to explore personal interest with technology
  • exhibit self-confidence through the use of technology

Technology is a phenomenon that is unfolding throughout our world at an unprecedented pace and with incredible ramifications. Everyone uses technology; unfortunately, everyone does not understand it. Technology can be as simple as that which was developed by the early bone or stone tool users or as sophisticated as the systems that support the space shuttle. Technology is everywhere and it is an integral part of how and where people live, work, recreate, and socialize. Without technology, humans are extremely limited in what they can accomplish, but with it humans are able to exert virtually unlimited power and energy in reaching their full potential.

Teachers must develop a coherent instructional program that challenges children to reach their full potential. Through the ESTE professional development experience, teachers study and use design and engineering principles to engage children in learning about what people do, the natural world, and the human made world. These experiences provide a unique opportunity for teachers to undergird the Standards of Learning with creative thinking and rigorous technology-based problem-solving activities. When children gain an understanding of the steps associated with solving problems, they are more apt to use content from all subject areas.

A child’s exploration commences with sensory development such as grasping and sucking. Through imitating sounds, movement and other sensory experience, and by physical action such as pulling, tugging, manipulating and arranging phenomena, children learn about their physical environment (the human made world). Every child should learn about technology and use it to solve problems and extend his or her capability.

Technology is a powerful force that shapes individuals and societies in a pervasive, subtle, and relentless fashion. Societal initiatives have burst into the decade of the 2000s with tremendous momentum, fueled by a technology that seems to change the rules every time we turn around. The education needed to be technologically literate today requires more than a casual measure of technology awareness. In fact, people are considered not to be well educated unless they understand the physical environment in which they live. We are in a highly advanced technological society, and having a basic understanding of how things work is central to being competent people. Children need to know how the natural and human made world interface.

As educators, we have an opportunity to help children develop their natural interest and curiosity pertaining to how things work. Starting in kindergarten, every child should learn about technology and use his or her physical environment to develop a degree of technological capability. Teachers in grades K-5 should expand children’s exploration in technology at each grade level. The professional development workshops provided by ESTE offer a tremendous opportunity for teachers to sharpen their ability to integrate the use and study of technology in the elementary school curriculum.