New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Engineering is the field of applied problem solving. This makes it different from other fields of study requiring from its participants more than knowledge of facts but also work towards a solution. Problem decomposition and generating alternatives and implementation are all part of it as well. Success as an engineering student or a professional engineer requires some understanding of designing in context and an interest in solving problems. The skills and dispositions of engineers are as important to their success as the knowledge that comes with years of study of math and science, and the frustrations along the way. Stevens describes the engineering educational experience as one of a “meritocracy of difficulty,” the general perception that the journey needs to be difficult to be worthwhile. A reflection of this on the K-12 student, and primary and secondary education at large, makes one consider where and how the requisite “grit” is forged.
Makers are those who use technology to solve problems and invent solutions. The problems are personal in nature to the individual Maker, resulting in passionate, self-directed work towards a solution. With this work, we investigate youth actively participating in the Maker Community and how lifelong learning, or self-direction, is supported by their family ecosystem. As part of the “Engineer of 2020” vision, particular student characteristics directly connected to the activities of Making such as creativity, practical ingenuity and lifelong learning are noted. Such skills and dispositions are hard to identify in young people. From qualitative interviews with these Young Makers and their parents at flagship Maker Faire events, we start to see evidence of roles in the learning ecology 6. We are interested in understanding these roles, how it may reflect maker family values, and how these values may translate to characteristics of successful K-12 students, and a pathway to interest and majoring in engineering, and engineering careers.
Larson, J., & Lande, M., & Jordan, S. S. (2016, June), Supporting K-12 Student Self-Direction with a Maker Family Ecosystem Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25972
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