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Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year of Enhancing STEM Education

September 5, 2011

For the past 20 years, hundreds of thousands of students across the U.S. and Canada have gained an understanding of how they can use science and technology to change the world through Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision, the world’s largest K–12 science and technology competition. As the program has evolved over the past two decades, it continues to encompass a wide variety of potentially beneficial student ideas and technological innovations, always remaining true to its core mission, to encourage excellence and motivate students in STEM disciplines. Applications for next year’s competition will be available online at exploravision.org starting September 1st and are due by February 1, 2012.

The ExploraVision program, sponsored by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), was created to help motivate young students to excel in science and technology. It challenges teams of 2-4 students to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. By instilling a sense of empowerment and the great potential of science, ExploraVision motivates students to excel and helps contribute to building the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators.

In fact, past winning students often credit ExploraVision for inspiring them to pursue STEM-related careers. Eleanor Ross, a 1995 student winner and now a Board Certified Pediatrician training in Pediatric Cardiology, stated, "My experience with ExploraVision inspired me to remain curious and think critically about the world. It led to my interest in scientific research, from my simple project examining plant growth in high school, to my current study looking at predictors of surgical outcomes in infants with congenital heart disease. In my daily work, I employ skills I learned through ExploraVision - brainstorming ideas, developing action plans, working as a team, and helping people.”

In addition to providing students with the opportunity to win money they can use for college tuition, ExploraVision gives educators a valuable tool for helping motivate students to excel in science. As a testament to its value in schools, the program has become so popular among teachers that many across the U.S. and Canada now include it as part of their regular science curriculum. Since the program’s inception in 1992, more than 287,000 students have submitted projects.

Students on the four first-place ExploraVision winning teams will each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond valued at maturity. Students on second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 bond valued at maturity. (Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars.) The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor and coach to Washington, DC for a gala awards weekend in June 2012. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and a Science Showcase during which the students will display and demonstrate their winning ideas and enjoy sightseeing. The highlight of ExploraVision weekend will be a gala awards banquet and ceremony where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments. Each of the 24 regional winning teams receives a Toshiba laptop for the school and each member of the regional winning teams will receive a Toshiba HD Camcorder.

Notably, in an ExploraVision first, the teacher who submits the most student projects this year will receive a Toshiba tablet PC. Teachers can learn more about ExploraVision and how to use it as a tool in the classroom through a series of Web Seminars at The NSTA Learning Center. Join the first Web Seminar, “What is ExploraVision and How Can I Use It?” on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

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