June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
13.499.1 - 13.499.10
Engineering and the Media: Building a New Relationship
Abstract Today’s youth are tightly integrating into their lives the use of digital media such as television, radio, computers, the Internet, and cell phones. Given the affinity of “digital natives” for such technologies, new media presentations as well as educational games that incorporate engineering design and/or analysis simulations may provide a way to bridge the gap between abstract concepts or theoretical knowledge and practical skills. This paper reviews images of engineering presented in videogames and in narrative television series. It also reports on the results of an October 2007 workshop that looked at the viability of using digital media as a means of engaging pubic audiences.
Today’s youth are integrating digital technologies- such as television, computers, the Internet, cell phones- into their daily lives. Studies show that the total amount of media content young people are exposed to each day has increased by more than an hour since 2000, with most of the increase coming from video games and computers. Given their affinity for digital technologies, educational games that incorporate engineering design and/or analysis simulations may provide a way to bridge the gap between abstract concepts or theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Similarly, engaging narratives on broadcast television, the web, and other new media (e.g., cell phones) may prove avenues by which to increase awareness of engineering as a career field. Many in the engineering community have sought to duplicate the success of CSI in building interest in a career field.
Engineering is not Science
In looking at images of engineering in the media, it is important to draw a distinction between engineering and the natural sciences. The natural sciences are broadly concerned with the acquisition of fundamental knowledge through experimental investigation, observation, identification, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena, with reference to the material and physical world. Physics, chemistry, and biology try to understand, describe, and explain nature through theories, models, laws, and facts about the physical world.
Engineering is the process of altering the location, state, and/or form of matter, energy, or information in service of human desires. Engineering is the application of scientific knowledge to practical ends such as the design of a device, system, or process to solve a problem, meet a need, or improve the original design. The experimental study of engineering involves the use of models and testing devices.
Maintaining cognizance of the distinction between engineering and science is critical to our effort to understand which media images may be legitimately regarded as highlighting engineering. We begin our survey by looking at video games.
Baber, T., & Fortenberry, N. (2008, June), Engineering And The Media: Building A New Relationship Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3146
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