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What is TechXplore?

New for 2008-2009

Role of the Mentor

Role of the Facilitator/Teacher

What is TechXplore?

TechXplore is NSTEP‘s 12-week ONLINE technology competition for middle school and high school students.  Teams of 2-6 students are matched with a mentor from the fields of science or technology.  The team decides on a common everyday problem to tackle, and then comes up with a new solution to that problem; a solution that either uses existing technology in a new way or uses a new technology.  The team’s final project is presented either in the form of a PowerPoint presentation or a website that describes the problem, the research process and the solution.

NSTEP awards a $1000 prize to the school with the winning project  in each of 4 categories (middle school and high school website and middle school and high school PowerPoint).

For more detailed information about TechXplore, you can click on the Tools button at the top of this page.

New for 2008-2009

This year NSTEP is introducing an exciting new feature to the TechXplore competition – the online interactive workbook.  NSTEP has partnered with Vyew, PC World’s top pick for online collaborative technology, to provide each TechXplore team with an online workbook.  The team will use the workbook to record all research, record all ideas and collaborate amongs team members and with the mentor.  All communication can be conducted right in the pages of the team’s workbook and/or in the workbook’s chat log.  Links to the final project can also be included right on the pages of the workbook.  Teams can work together in real time, with each team member and the mentor logging into the workbook at the same time, or teams can work asynchronously by leaving notes and work on the pages of the book for all team members to view.  We are so excited to offer this to the TechXplore competition this year.

Role of the Mentor

Please click here for more details.

Role of the Facilitator or Project Leader

TechXplore provides teachers, club leaders, and after-school program leaders a way to integrate technology into the learning environment while approaching the sciences and technology in an engaging and interactive manner. TechXplore brings the expertise of the technology industry into the classroom through the connection with the technical mentor. Facilitators do not need to know anything specific about the subject their students select for research. Facilitators do, however, play an integral role in assisting teams of students who participate in TechXplore. Facilitators are relied upon to integrate the project into their curriculum or after-school program, help students meet program deadlines, coordinate the team’s research and project-building activities, as well as inspire their research efforts.


A facilitator’s primary roles in relationship to the program are:

    1. To facilitate the work of the student team


    1. To integrate the program into the curriculum or after school program, and


  1. To manage the project and communication to mentor.

It is important to remember that the students are responsible for doing the work involved in conducting their research and meeting the requirements of the program. The Facilitator’s role is to provide opportunities and places for the team to meet and help them meet on a regular basis, support and encourage the students, and help them solve any problems they may encounter in meeting the requirements of the program.

Facilitators should stress the importance of communication and reinforce that students must take full advantage of their mentors to ensure accuracy of the decisions they make regarding their research. Facilitators should ensure that at least one team member assumes responsibility for staying in weekly communication with the team’s mentor.

For a successful outcome, teachers may integrate the TechXplore program into the curriculum of the classroom or other group meeting. This is accomplished when the teacher links the technical focus for the project, developed by the team with help from a mentor, to the learning objectives of the science or technology curriculum. Successful integration occurs when the teacher relates the technology to their physics, chemistry or biology curriculum and draws appropriate relationships.

In after-school programs and club settings, facilitators may draw connections between technology and the activities that surround the after-school or club program and help students understand how technology can improve the quality of life.

The facilitator/teacher is the project administrator. Facilitators/teachers register teams, help teams organize at the outset of the project, arrange for their team(s) to have Internet access, facilitate the relationship with the mentor, assist them with organizational or technical problems and, most importantly, help them understand and follow the program guidelines and meet their deadlines.

NSTEP staff can help.  If you have any questions about your role or need help in order to meet these goals, please contact NSTEP any time.

When you are ready to get started with the TechXplore competition follow the steps below!

Step 1: Click on Become A Facilitator above to begin registration for the upcoming TechXplore competition. After you receive email confirmation of registering as a Facilitator, you can begin registering your teams.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the Facilitator Guidelines, scoring rubric (on the Tools page) and some past projects (on this page), all available on the NSTEP website.

Step 3: View a training video, which you can find in the Tools Section of this website.

Once you have completed the steps above, you have all the knowledge you need to facilitate your team(s). We will match your team with the first available mentor so your team can begin research for their project. GOOD LUCK!