Technology competition registration open to Cobb and Douglas County students

Photo of teen with devicePhotos from past competitions provided by Nancy Ranasinghe

By Rebecca Gaunt

Students impassioned by technology can register for the 6th annual Cobb Regional Technology Competition, which will take place January 22 at Kennesaw Mountain High School.

Registration is open until Dec. 17 to all students in 3rd through 12th grade in Cobb County, Douglas County and Marietta City Schools. Students attending private school or being homeschooled in the region are also eligible. Entrants may choose from 14 categories, including 3-D modeling, mobile apps, digital game design and robotics. There is no registration fee this year.

Photos from past competition provided by Nancy Ranasinghe

The CRTC is one of 18 regional competitions that make up the Georgia Student Technology Competition (GaSTC). All first place projects are automatically entered into the state competition. Both the state and regional events are run by volunteer educators, and the state competition is funded by the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium.

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Nancy Ranasinghe, a third grade math/science/STEM teacher at Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, has been the director since its inception. At the time, she was the technology literacy specialist at Sedalia Park Elementary in the Cobb County School District.

“No other competition exists in Georgia where students can create a digital project (on their own or with a partner), and compete against their peers in a supportive and encouraging environment,” Ranasinghe told the Courier. “Students gain confidence and motivation to continue to innovate, create and become leaders in a digital age.”

Photos from past competition provided by Nancy Ranasinghe

Ranasinghe, a steering committee of her colleagues, and Dr. Sally Creel, the STEM and innovation supervisor for Cobb County School District, are the drive behind the annual event.

According to Code.org, computer science drives innovation throughout the U.S. economy, but is marginalized in K-12 education.

​​”We believe that a quality computer science education should be available to every child, not just a lucky few,” the website states.

Winners are rewarded with medals and ribbons. At the state level, a $500 Lou Dewberry Scholarship is given to a randomly selected senior, a $250 scholarship is given to seniors who place highest in their category, and a $100 Teach-Technology Award is given for best overall in the 7/8th grade category.

CCSD student Abhijeet Ghosh was the recipient of the 2021 Teach-Technology Award. Ghosh was also a finalist in the 2020 Broadcom MASTERS science and engineering competition.

Samarth Mahapatra, a student at Wheeler Magnet, created a fitness app for the 2020 CRTC, which was available at one time for download in the App store. He recently won second place overall in 3M’s National Young Scientist Program for his project that helps people with vision impairments cook.

Though his 3M project was unrelated to any of his annual entries for the CRCT, Ranasinghe told the Courier, “it is an indicator of the passion and innovation some students who participate carry with them.”

Not only do many students return year after year, so do many of the volunteer judges.

“I’m so very proud of this competition and the opportunity it affords kids. When you see what they can do, you know our world is in good hands,” she said.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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