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Development Of A Teacher Education Curriculum Based On Engineering Principles And Concepts

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers – I

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.521.1 - 12.521.11



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Sullivan The College of New Jersey

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Stephen O'Brien The College of New Jersey

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John Karsnitz The College of New Jersey

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of a Teacher Education Curriculum Based on Engineering Principles and Concepts


The rate of technological innovation has become such that it has become almost impossible for any individual to keep abreast of all the current and upcoming developments. The oft-quoted statement from Arthur C. Clarke,

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.[1]

is for all intents and purposes the reality for many individuals. As engineers, it is one thing to shake our heads when someone claims that they have no idea how a light bulb or an internal combustion engine works, but can we really be surprised when someone expresses a sense of wonder when they learn that a tiny unpowered USB device can store 4 GB of data?

Ten years ago, engineering programs were beginning to introduce the concept of 3-D modeling to students who had problems using a mouse to zoom, pan and rotate a solid model. Yet today, grade-school children play video games that exist in fully 3-D virtual worlds and they can build their own solid models using kid-centric programs such as Lego Digital Designer.[2] During the same period of time: The Internet has gone from the research tool and the “next new thing” for technophiles to being an almost defacto necessity for conducting our daily lives. The cell phone has gone from the defining aspect of being a “Yuppie” to being a part of the standard walking around items for a huge percentage of the global population. As of 2006, 80% of world's population has mobile phone coverage.[3] Television screens have become bigger while the sets have become thin, film cameras have been replaced by the CCD, GPS navigation has become a standard option on most cars, CD’s have been replaced by MP3’s, which have been replaced by iTunes, and China has become the factory for the world.

As educators, we need to ask ourselves, “At what point does the rate of growth of technology begin to outpace the population’s ability to keep pace with it?” The second question that needs to be asked is, “What mechanism have we built into our education system that prepares our future citizens to be an informed populace?”

Many studies have been conducted, reports written, and papers published that have considered these question and some means by which they can be addressed.[4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] One of the primary conclusions that can be gleaned from these works is that our national education system needs to produce students who are creative problem solvers.

In a recent interview, an engineering manager from Lockheed Martin Space Systems involved in the system testing for the Phoenix Mars Mission[10] (Launch: August 2007) made the following observation:

Sullivan, D., & O'Brien, S., & Karsnitz, J. (2007, June), Development Of A Teacher Education Curriculum Based On Engineering Principles And Concepts Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2825

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