Magazine article Technology and Children

Technology for Everyone - Not Just a Few

Magazine article Technology and Children

Technology for Everyone - Not Just a Few

Article excerpt

Message From the President of TECC

As an assistant professor at Brigham Young University in the Technology Teacher Education program, I am not required to spend time in the elementary classroom. In fact, I've been criticized in my tenure and promotion interviews for doing so. My students are not credentialed to teach Grades K-5. But still, every year we select one of these grades, prepare lessons, and go teach in a nearby elementary school. In the State of Utah, technology and engineering are not required curriculum in the primary grades; they are only required in the seventh and eighth grades. So, why should anyone spend valuable time and effort trying to get young children excited about technology if there are few professional rewards?

First of all-the kids love it! Take a look at the second grader holding this rocket and now picture a whole classroom full of children much like her-smiling, laughing, and making meaningful connections to their math, science, social studies, or language arts curriculum. Many of you can create this mental image because you have been there. You have experienced it. You have seen learning come to life through a real-life technological challenge or problem that kids can solve. Now think of the 50 million kids in the USA on whom we could have this same effect-this is why we're here. This is why we need to continue pushing even when the push back seems, at times, overwhelming.

Another, perhaps equally important, reason to offer technology in the elementary classroom is that we must! In a recently published article from the American Society for Engineering Education magazine called the PRISM, several disturbing facts were confirmed. It is clear that "engineering graduation and enrollment rates at U.S. universities are not keeping up with the country's increasing demand for engineering talent." In addition, there is not nearly enough diversity in the field, specifically with regard to women, African-Americans, and Hispanics. In an article from Readers Digest, titled "America's Brain Drain Crisis," the author points out the unnerving fact that though scientists and engineers make up only 5% of our population in the U.S., they are responsible for 50% of our Gross Domestic Product. When you couple this with the fact that only 6% of high school seniors identified engineering as the field of study they were going to pursue (down from 36% a decade ago), the statistics become frightening. …

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