June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
NSF Grantees Poster Session
23.232.1 - 23.232.10
Attracting College and High School Students to Study Engineering Technology through Hands-on Mechatronics Product Design ProjectsAbstractEngineering technology encompasses many engineering technology fields: mechanical engineeringtechnology, electrical engineering technology, and computer engineering technology, etc. This posterpresents the work on using hands-on mechatronics design activities to attract high school and collegestudents to study engineering technology.Technology education has been a key in producing college graduates to work in today’s fast paced,highly competitive public and private enterprises. Unfortunately, the supply of qualified workforce hasbeen reduced in the United States due to the steady drop of enrollment of college and high schoolstudents in STEM related fields for the past twenty years of which technology is an importantcomponent. To tackle the dwindling enrollment of STEM students and low quality of STEM graduates,the National Science Board submitted a report to Congress in 2007 suggesting all students need todevelop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the pastwith an increased emphasis on technology and engineering at all levels in the Nation’s education system.The Board gave two priority recommendations: (1) Ensure Coherence in Nation’s STEM EducationSystem; (2) Ensure that Students Are Taught by Well-Prepared and Highly Effective STEM Teachers.This poster aims at addressing the two issues that many educational institutions are facing through theintroduction of mechatronics technology into undergraduate students as well as to high school students. To change the landscape of technology education in the US, many things must be done. Hands-onengaging activities have been proven as important tools for attracting young people. In his keynotespeech called “21st Century Skills - From Industry to Education and Back” at 2010 NSF ATE PrincipalInvestigator Conference, Mr. Charles Fadel, Global Education Research Lead at Cisco Systems,presented a study which indicates that students learn well in teams, in project based activities, and incollaborative environments. The hands-on project based activities will also strengthen students’ skills incritical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity/innovation. These skills have beenidentified by top U.S. companies as priorities for employee development, talent management andsuccession planning. It is only natural for the technology education to incorporate hands-on practicalapplications at every stage of a student’s education. This connection should be made earlier during astudent’s high school years and be reinforced every semester during student’s college years so as toallow the student to reach a level of maturity expected by companies for entry level or junior levelpositions.In August 2010, the college received a grant from National Science Foundation’s Advanced TechnologyEducation (ATE) division to establish a Mechatronics Technology Center (MTC) to introduce themechatronics technology to college as well to high school students.Our ATE project focuses on Integrated STEM Education using mechatronics products as vehicles tobuild student interest and to emphasize the intrinsic relations among various STEM fields. Roboticscompetitions held regularly at different levels enabled students to immerse themselves in STEM and tobuild their STEM skills gradually. This helped create, sustain, and foster long lasting interest on STEM.College students served as mentors to help faculty members conduct the training in various engineeringtopics as well as in learning the 21st century skills.
Zhang, A. S., & Berri, S., & Heng, I. H., & Zia, F. (2013, June), Attracting College and High School Students to Study Engineering Technology through Hands-on Mechatronics Product Design Projects Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19246
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