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News @ ODU

More Than 135 Teams Set to Compete in the Great Computer Challenge

For the 27th straight year, teams of students from schools across Hampton Roads will come to Old Dominion University to test their computer skills in a pressure-packed, daylong competition known as the Great Computer Challenge (GCC).

The event, sponsored by ODU, WHRO and the Consortium for Interactive Instruction (CII), is a competitive opportunity for students in grades K-12 to demonstrate their skills in various computer applications and computer programming.

This year's challenge for students from grades 6-12 will be held March 17. More than 135 school teams from as far away as Williamsburg and Isle of Wight County will occupy virtually every inch of Webb Center, competing in events like desktop presentations, graphic design, music composition and scientific programming.

"The Great Computer Challenge is a great opportunity for everyone," said Doug Streit, director of information security at ODU and campus coordinator of the GCC.

"ODU has the opportunity to connect with our community in a way that is meaningful to education. Our partnership with WHRO helps to advance the use of technology in our regional schools. The Great Computer Challenge not only maps each category to Standards of Learning, but the problems are formulated with input from teachers and they represent real-life challenges that are tackled through the use of technology."

Streit said students love to bring their brain power to a contest at a local university, and enjoy the competition. A number of employees in his department have memories of competing in the GCC when they were in high school.

"As a parent with high-school-aged kids, I know that it is important to show our kids how they will use what they are learning. The Great Computer Challenge gives parents and teachers some tools to do this," he said.

This year's event - with the theme "Graduate America" - will kick off with a welcome address by Linda Irwin-DeVitis, dean of the Darden College of Education. The theme connects computer literacy to the notion of staying in school.

On the day of the GCC, teams will break into groups in rooms throughout Webb Center and work on their computer problems during the morning hours. After lunch, the group will reconvene mid-afternoon for the awards ceremony, which always attracts a large, enthusiastic crowd, Streit said.

The category winners receive engraved trophies, which will be on display at the winners' schools for the next year.

ODU will host the Great Computer Challenge for students in grades K-5 on April 28. Registration is still open for this event. To register, click on the following link: Junior Great Computer Challenge Registration Form 2012.