June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1323.1 - 12.1323.8
Engineering and Technology Experiences in Workshops for High and Middle School Students
Activities focusing on introducing engineering and technology to students in high and middle school are taken place at our institutions. These activities have developed into one- or two-day workshops and consecutive-days residential institutes. The main goal of all these activities is to plant the seed about technology and engineering in the minds of the young participants. Therefore, a variety of sessions take place in order to show them new technical concepts and to challenge them to make use of those concepts. For the high-school students, the activities during the residential institutes are in the context of emulating a typical design process in industry, from concept to prototype. This product development process is valuable because it corresponds with the type of interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills that leading firms and industry seek from new employees. For the participants from middle schools, the several-days workshops have activities that expose them to technology in the short workshops, and introduction and use of technical concepts (via use of Lego sets) for the longer workshops, with emphasis on the design process as well.
For both groups, the students are assigned interactive projects that stimulate imagination and creativity incorporating hands-on science, technology and computer programming concepts. Appropriate design challenges are given to the students so that emphasis is not only on engineering and computer programming concepts but also on experimentation and teamwork while having fun. The paper will discuss the experiences by the authors, in a period of two years, when carrying out these activities at our institutions; together with the opinion by the high school students attending the institutes. Discussion on the selection process and the group dynamics during the workshops will be discussed as well. Given current trends in enrollments at our institutions and the fact that most of the budget for these activities is coming from state agencies, the eventual effect of these activities as recruitment activities will be discussed as well.
The United States of America is a country that thrives on technological advancement. We have an insatiable appetite for the latest technology and do not mind spending billions of dollars each year to satisfy our yearnings. Unfortunately, we are not as passionate about encouraging our youth to pursue careers in engineering and technology. The gap between the demand for engineers and the supply required by industry is growing and is not being filled by our own talent pool1. The problem of attracting students to engineering has been a topic largely debated. The most commonly cited reasons for the limited interest by students is an undeniable image problem2 (“Engineers are the guys who carry pocket protectors and wear black rimed glasses, the guys who love math and science – you know, geeks of the world”) and a lack of understanding about what a career in engineering and technology may entail3. As stated by Mike Eby2: “Most kids worship athletes, rock stars, or actors. Some even look up to fireman, policemen, and doctors. But when was the last time you heard a kid say, “I want to be an engineer when I grow
Rodriguez, J., & Fredericks, T., & Butt, S., & Rodriguez, L. (2007, June), Students And Faculty Experiences In Technology And Engineering Workshops For Middle And High Schools Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2932
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