Magazine article ASEE Prism

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Magazine article ASEE Prism

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Article excerpt

MAKING THE GRADE

I am behind in my reading but Prism does get my attention. The February issue on K-12 education was excellent, but it missed two things that I feel passionately about.

The first is the almost tired complaint that the U.S. is not keeping up in "math and science." I recognize that this is true, but I believe that the real cause is that math and science are generally treated as rather pure subjects. I believe that the reason that putting engineers in the classroom (or having other creative introduction to engineering in the classroom) works is that engineers help the students understand the technology around them. Kids are fascinated with the technology, but without understanding they just become users. The key element is teaching about technology and using that to motivate interest in the math and science. I believe that we need technology, math, and science in the schools and that the first will lead to excellence in the other two. Note that this not the AAAS viewpoint.

The second is that some school districts are beginning to get it right. Today this seems to take a committed staff person who knows technology education and the willingness to integrate technology into the curriculum from K all the way to 12. I am sure that there are a small number of programs that do this, but one I have discovered is the Quaker Valley School District, a mixed middle class Pennsylvania school district. While they use technology in education, they teach technology starting in kindergarten. In fourth grade every student learns about electric circuits. …

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