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Programmable Logic Controllers In The High Schools Improve College Enrollments

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Promoting ET Through K-12 Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1030.1 - 10.1030.9



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Paper Authors

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John Marshall

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

Document 2005-744

Programmable Logic Controllers in the High Schools Improves College Enrollments

John Allen Marshall, Ph.D.

School of Applied Science, Engineering, and Technology University of Southern Maine Gorham, Maine 04038


Too few high school students understand that a technical career path can genuinely be exciting and neat. Some have the short-term view that good paying jobs are plentiful, so why take the really difficult courses. Many sell their own abilities short and convince themselves that it is too difficult a career path. And still others conjure up the image of a dirty, dull, dangerous, and demeaning factory floor and run (not walk) in the other direction.

What is needed to turn these impressions around are exciting exposures to technical topics in existing high school curriculums such as technology education, science, math and physics. The purpose of this paper is to identify exactly one such exciting module that has been successfully used to build bridges that link high school students to industrial technology and engineering technology career paths.

This presentation will identify specific outcomes that resulted from an extremely cost- efficient program. The success and simplicity of the program encourages it’s continuance with existing high schools and even growth into a greater geographical area. Institutions seeking higher student enrollments in technical degree paths may wish to consider replicating this simple and exciting programmable logic controller module. This strong recruiting tool has provided us a pipeline of talented new students into the university program.

The Program

The University’s relationship with a local high school began with a simple invitation to their technology education teacher. When asked if he would be interested in bringing a class to tour our Industrial Power Transmission and Control laboratory, our phone call was answered with a slightly skeptical – perhaps. The teacher wanted to visit us first and determine the usefulness of bringing a class to campus.

His skepticism resulted from a fear that a highly theoretical environment would intimidate and turn-off his students. He was however, searching for a method to

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Marshall, J. (2005, June), Programmable Logic Controllers In The High Schools Improve College Enrollments Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15442

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