June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
14.1116.1 - 14.1116.14
Systems and Global Engineering: Results of a Pilot Study for High School Students and Teachers
This three-year project is designed to engage high school classes in New Jersey and elsewhere in a geographically-distributed systems engineering design project that addresses relevant, social challenges of interest to students worldwide. Collaborating with others around the world to develop a solution to an engineering problem, students are introduced to systems-thinking, team work, effective communication and other 21st century workforce skills. This innovative project aims to increase the number of students interested in pursuing engineering as a career and to increase the pool of teachers familiar with engineering design and systems thinking. This paper presents the findings from the first part of the pilot study; results of the fall 2008 implementation of the module Introduction to the Core Concepts of Systems Engineering.
The practice of engineering is increasingly conducted in a complex, globally-distributed environment. Multiple entities must work together on a range of project components and systems that must, themselves, work together in order for the entire system to operate effectively. Stevens Institute of Technology has partnered with the New Jersey Technology Education Association to introduce concepts and approaches of systems and global engineering to high school technology, engineering, and science students. As part of the Systems and Global Engineering (SAGE) project, students in classrooms around the world have the opportunity to design a solution to a complex problem. Students apply science and mathematics principles toward the development of an engineered product or system; utilize state-of-the-art industrial software to collaborate on the design; practice inventive thinking and problem-solving to develop designs; collaborate in class-based and worldwide teams; and develop and present a final product. Students are introduced to a systems-thinking approach that encourages them to see their design effort in a larger context. They have to reflect on the problem they are trying to solve, the resources that are available, and assess the desirable as well as potentially undesirable impacts their design will have in its intended environment. Local as well as worldwide collaboration fosters teamwork, innovation and invention, effective communication, and other 21st century workforce skills.
Over the course of three years, this project will develop, pilot, and disseminate, via face-to-face and online professional development, four high school level curriculum modules that elucidate systems engineering concepts and that assess different approaches to curricula implementation that will enable effective global collaboration among schools and classrooms world-wide. During the first year of the project, these modules were developed and 20 high school teachers were trained to use them in their classes. Currently in its second year, pilot testing of all of the modules is underway and findings from the fall 2008 implementation of the module Introduction to the Core Concepts of Systems Engineering are now available.
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