Indiana State University Newsroom

Technology education students win teaching competition at regional conference

December 20, 2012

The paper airplanes several Indiana State University students created during an educational effort were not only helpful, they were part of an award-winning initiative.

A group of Indiana State technology and engineering education students won first place in the teaching contest that was part of the 2012 Midwest Regional Conference of the Technology and Engineering Educators Collegiate Association (TEECA). Indiana State students Colby Boyer and Cody Eaves taught the simulated lesson, which was also prepared by fellow conference participants and ISU students Molly Joseph and Dan Lewellyn.

"We taught a lesson that incorporated a short presentation and then we did an activity and incorporated the judges as if they were students," said Boyer, a junior technology and engineering education and construction management double major, "and it all came together really nicely."

The group of four students created the 10-minute lesson plan on aerodynamics. They explained aerodynamics principles and how objects fly. Boyer and Eaves had the judges pick a paper airplane, who then released to them to see how they would fly.

The student educators then measured the distance the planes traveled and, using the time they were in the air, calculated the rate of speed the planes traveled. Boyer and Eaves then briefly talked with the judges about the planes' performances.

"A technology classroom is known for its hands-on activity, so if we plan to teach a whole class like this, why would we go to a standardized lecture hall like a normal classroom?" Boyer said. "We wanted to incorporate activity in it to make the judges feel like a real tech classroom, and as we would want to be teaching the students."

Technology educators are required to adhere to a specific set of standards, said Kara Harris, associate professor of applied engineering and technology management and coordinator of Indiana State's technology and engineering education program. Yet students in the technology education program also learn to create lesson plans that incorporate the standards for lesson plans in science, engineering and mathematics as well, she added.

"It makes what they're doing a lot more academic and a lot more cross-disciplinary," Harris said. "Whenever you go about it that way, it makes your activity much more concrete to the students. They can understand where the math concept came from because they're doing a hands-on activity."

Students in the technology and engineering education program generally attend the annual Engineering Technology Educators of Indiana conference, which typically does not provide competitions for students, Harris said. But this year the organization's regional conference was held in conjunction with the Midwest TEECA regional conference in Indiana, which gave the students the chance to enter the contest.

"Professional development gives students like myself the opportunity to work with experienced educators to better our overall understanding of the educational profession, said Eaves, a technology and engineering education major from Rockport. "I personally benefited from competing by simply gaining confidence when speaking in front of an audience."

The four students' win reinforces that they are learning effective lessons to be strong teachers, Boyer said.

"The students in the program are pretty close," he added. "Working together as a group, we pulled it together, obviously with a good finish."

Contact: Kara Harris, associate professor of applied engineering and technology management and technology and engineering education program coordinator, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-237-9633 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or