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Session Number 1526: Impacting The Future By Leveraging The Past

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1111.1 - 10.1111.9

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Paper Authors

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Don Millard

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

Session 1526

Impacting the Future by Leveraging the Past Don Lewis Millard, Ph.D. Rensselaer


The paper presents an overview of a pilot project that utilizes the rich historical archives of General Electric’s (GE) science & technology to augment the production of new educational materials; including a wonderful series of 23 scientific comic books that GE produced between 1946 and 1959. The paper discusses how images of physical artifacts and historical documents have been integrated with the comics and other archival pieces to produce interactive web-based learning modules that are geared toward K-14 grade levels. The paper describes the piloting of prototype web-based educational materials for students in grade 4 (electricity) and lower level undergraduate courses (engineering) – in an attempt to inspire students to pursue a science or engineering degree program. The initial pilot testing and assessment efforts of the project are presented in conjunction with our intent to help K-12 students and teachers meet the rigorous NYS science standards.


U.S. students are typically exposed to the use of computers in the K-12 classroom or media centers, yet rarely link their use of technology in school with how they use computers at home. They now have greater opportunities to garner knowledge by accessing and using information than ever before. Even with such technology, we need to bring more dynamic materials and engaging education into the home to reinforce and broaden our children’s understanding of the concepts that are introduced at school.

Contemporary K-12 students immerse themselves in computer games and instant messaging, while using a browser-based search engine that instantly accesses new media and subject matter. Their enhanced ability to perform a number of tasks while also carrying on multiple communications using a variety of media - can lead to boredom and impatience if they are not appropriately stimulated. This effect confronts academia and influences educators to teach in more engaging, dynamic, and interactive ways. Bored grammar school students have difficulty retaining focus in math and science classrooms, resulting in fewer high school graduates that choose to pursue technical careers. Unfortunately, today’s products call for advanced skills in science, math, engineering and technology, yet the number of graduating engineers in the U.S. is declining in comparison to other countries such as China and India. This issue is clearly of concern to the competitive outlook for U.S. industry and, consequently, U.S. citizens.

We need to use technology to help us address the declining number of U.S. students entering STEM oriented fields by utilizing dynamic and compelling media to re-engage and inspire today’s adolescents. General Electric (GE) had recognized the potential for capturing the interest

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

Millard, D. (2005, June), Session Number 1526: Impacting The Future By Leveraging The Past Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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