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.