The Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) was created to afford pre-college students in grades three (3) through twelve (12) an opportunity to experience the excitement of researching solutions to real-world problems involving science, engineering and other technical fields of study. Students primarily use information and communication technology tools to conduct their on-line investigations. They work as a team, communicate with professionals, apply science inquiry and present their research findings in a professional manner. These experiences help students build individual and collaborative study and work skills. The scientists, engineers, doctors, researchers, and technicians of tomorrow reside in the classrooms of today. The ISTF provides teachers with a means to integrate on-line science, technology, and engineering into their curricula and help their students realize the possibilities of technical career futures.
The impending retirement of the baby boomer generation may cost the United States up to 40% of its science and engineering workforce. Because economic competitiveness is directly linked to technology innovation, the United States must support students in their efforts to explore, ponder and pursue technical career possibilities. The accomplishment of this goal requires that teachers in the classroom receive the necessary tools, skills and resources. It also necessitates the involvement of practicing professionals who share their subject matter expertise via mentoring opportunities.
The goals of the ISTF program are: