June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.666.1 - 23.666.16
Role of a Two-Year College in a Global Work-Place for Increasing Competency by FLL - Building Passion for Engineering & Science from an Early AgeIn the competitive workplace of the world today, it is imperative to have more competentengineering graduates coming out of our Institutions of Higher Ed. From the days of childhood,the question has been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” yet often, kids do notknow much about the answers that they give. Truly, how many young children do have a rationalidea about what they hope to accomplish in their future? High school and college is when thenatures of specific jobs are discussed in detail, yet by this time kids must choose what path ineducation they must take or risk being left behind. What if kids could experience firsthand whata career might entail, even before middle school? Could the irreplaceable skills of teamwork,problem solving and critical thinking be taught in a fun and invigorating environment?FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL), aprogram centered on childhood experiences with technology and teamwork, offers answers toboth of these questions. Having formed a team, the kids develop a solution for a social topic ofthe year (health, food transportation, care of the elderly), implementing skills of research,brainstorming and professionalism at an age much younger than usual. An important aspect ofthis program is its appeal to a variety of skill sets; mechanical design, marketing, programming,presentation, technical writing—all these traits come into play as the team investigates andcreates their LEGO robotic solution. The independent work of these kids is a great virtue of theprogram, yet mentorship is essential to guide the kids along a productive path. Students ofcommunity colleges are especially well suited for this task. At a stepping stone between highschool and university, students of community colleges have the skills needed to be helpful, whilealso having the connection to their community that helps to spread excitement for the program.While the college students develop their leadership styles, the kids get to see challenges andexperience joys at producing solutions to technical problems. Education is imperative tochildhood development, yet sadly, many kids do not receive the first hand experience that helpsreveal passion that will drive them to successful careers in science, technology and engineering.This sort of experience is brought about by the technical challenges of FLL, an event that bringstogether students of all ages with a shared passion that can unite an entire community.
Thomas, J. S., & Safai, N. M., & Thompson, C. F. (2013, June), How College Students Are Increasing Global Competency while Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers through UFLL (student poster) Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19680
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