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Time Engineers: An Interactive Multimedia Program For Secondary School Students

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.667.1 - 5.667.6



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Eric W. Johnson

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Session 2530

Time Engineers: An Interactive Multimedia Program for Secondary School Students Eric W. Johnson Valparaiso University


This paper describes a unique outreach vehicle, an interactive multimedia program, that introduces secondary school students to different principles in engineering. The program, called Time Engineers, allows students to travel to different time periods and work through engineering-related activities. The goal of each activity is to encourage the development of reasoning and problem solving skills, and at the same time, introduce one or more engineering principles. Starting this fall, the CD-ROM will be distributed to school systems where teachers can enhance their curriculum with the activities found in the program.

An initial version of the program which included one time period and four activities was distributed in the spring of 1998 to seven different middle and high schools in Northwest Indiana. Teachers incorporated the activities into classes ranging from algebra to physics. The response by both teachers and students was overwhelming positive. Teachers were excited about using the program to supplement their existing curriculum and the students had fun learning about different engineering principles.

I. Introduction

Statistics show that there is a pressing need for new engineers and this shortage will likely continue into the next century. To help alleviate this problem, both industry and universities must work harder at promoting engineering and engineering-related careers at the secondary school level. Recently, the Sloan foundation released an excellent set of multimedia materials aimed at educating students about careers in engineering1. These materials provide valuable information for high school seniors and college freshman who have already decided that they are interested in a science or engineering-related career. Over the past ten years there have also been numerous summer workshops held at universities around the country for middle and high school students. These types of workshops have been very successful at introducing engineering to a limited group of students (many of which have been hand selected to participate). In contrast, the goal of this project was to motivate a large number of students including those who may have not thought about pursuing engineering or engineering-related careers. These include students in primarily rural or urban schools. Since it may not be feasible to bring a large number of secondary students to a university campus, another approach for reaching these students is to bring the basic engineering principles into their classroom. For this approach to be successful, however, two things must occur. First, the project brought to the schools must be interesting enough that students would not only learn about engineering but also be motivated to consider engineering careers, and second, secondary school teachers have to be willing to incorporate the

Johnson, E. W. (2000, June), Time Engineers: An Interactive Multimedia Program For Secondary School Students Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8775

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