June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.584.1 - 13.584.10
Evolution of an Engineering Technology Outreach Program
One element of Purdue University’s mission is to play a leadership role in strengthening Indiana's economy and improving the qualifications of the state's workforce. One element of the strategy to achieve this is to improve preparatory education through continuing engagement with PK-12 schools, with special emphasis on reading, writing, math, and science. Prior to 2004, the College of Technology in Columbus had little if any engagement with the local PK-12 schools.
In an effort to initiate engagement, professors from the Organizational Leadership and Supervision and Mechanical Engineering Technology departments organized, submitted and received a grant from a local community foundation to bring technology to elementary students using LEGO™ bricks, gears and pneumatic elements. That initial grant for over $6000 resulted in three separate days of workshops in three different schools. In each school workshops were conducted simultaneously for as many as three different classes of fifth and sixth grade students. Nearly all the faculty and most of the staff of the Purdue College of Technology in Columbus were involved in these workshops. Pre and post tests were given to attempt to determine how much learning had occurred. Thank-you notes received by the workshop organizers contained very positive comments from the participants.
After that first success, the author has received 9 more grants from organizations as diverse as community foundations, economic development boards, companies and neighborhood associations totaling nearly $40,000. With all the grants, the funds were used to purchase LEGO™ equipment, LEGO™ software and LEGO™ curriculum plans. In some cases, this equipment has been used to promote the Purdue College of Technology through elementary school science nights, summer camps and career fairs.
This paper will detail the strategy to obtain the grants and the specifics of how they were used. Additionally, the overall outreach strategy has led to the Purdue College of Technology in Columbus hosting a qualifying tournament of the First Lego League for the first time in 2006. The second tournament in 2007 saw a two-fold increase in the number of teams coming to Columbus, Indiana to compete. All of these efforts were aided by the evolution of the outreach programs initiated by the author.
Purdue University is a public, state-supported institution that, according to its mission exists to “serve the citizens of Indiana, the United States, and the world through discovery that expands the realm of knowledge, learning through dissemination and preservation of knowledge, and engagement through exchange of knowledge.”1 Subsequently, one of the corresponding goals to this mission is to “effectively address the needs of society through engagement”1 and one of the key strategies to attaining this goal is to
Fuehne, J. (2008, June), Evolution Of An Engineering Technology Outreach Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3326
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