Monday, June 14, 2010

Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It
((appreciation courses))

In the New York Times:
Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It

William E. Kelly, a spokesman for the American Society for Engineering Education and former dean of the engineering school at Catholic University in Washington, cautioned that engineering lessons for youngsters should be kept in perspective.

“You’re NOT really learning what I would call engineering fundamentals,”
he said of such programs. “You’re really learning about engineering.”

That is really appropriate as for over a decade most schools had their students learning about math, which resulted in the majority of students completely unable to do much math.... Since these students have no real tools to ever become engineers .... they get an Engineering Appreciation course to accompany their Math Appreciation courses. ... What progress!!!


dan dempsey said...

sent to me:

I just skimmed this article. I'm not against this kind of thing in principle. I kids were exposed to the kind of thing that engineers do early on, more of them would develop an interest in it and some would develop it well.

In general, kids should learn how to experiment with materials and tools to build simple machines and learn what breaks and what works. If that is done for them, and all they do is play with stuff that adults have contrived and talk about them, then the opportunity for such learning is squandered.

I don't think I had many of these lessons in school, though. I had the great fortune of having a father - along with grandfathers and uncles, an entire family legacy, really - who "tinkered".

Tinkering exposed my mind and my hands to materials and physics and led me to be a mechanical engineer. Much of what has led to my professional success was learned long before I entered college, and in fact is not present in very many engineering schools, either now or thirty years ago.

I've begun to read a very interesting book called "Shop Class as Soulcraft" that addresses this general topic.

Anonymous said...

I would a gree with you too - hs used to have teachers that were more into tinkering and there's so many more opportunities for kids to gt first-hand experiences 'tinkering' in a developing country. My kid can barely run a lawn mower, much less fix one.

Anonymous said...

I'm 'tinkering now with a droid...I love it, but I hate it. An amazing thing.