HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
STEM Connection

Will STEM Support Stoke Tech Future?

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/5  >  >>
williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Geek Chic
williamlweaver   4/5/2012 11:49:35 AM
NO RATINGS
@Alex, I'm going to narrow it down even further. The impediment between Engineering and Cool lies somewhere between Middle School and High School. I had the great pleasure of judging at the recent 2012 Sea Perch Competition here in Philadelphia. I judged the High School poster presentations in the morning and the Middle School posters in the afternoon. Each team brought their developed underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to the Drexel University swimming pool for an underwater obstacle course and simulated rescue mission. The teams were then asked to pose as a Navy contractor and "sell" their ROV system to Navy representatives (the judges). 

The High School students did an admirable job but the Middle School kids blew me away. Teams of 6 - 12 students, team T-shirts, rally-paint, one school even had a school-wide pep-rally for the team the day before and then brought along their cheer squad and mascot along to the competition. The students were engaged, excited, professional, and supportive of each-others knowledge of physics and engineering. 

Somewhere between the ages of 11 - 14, that excitement is crushed and only the true scientists and engineers that have the wherewithal to withstand cultural labels and hurtful stereotypes continue on. So perhaps the comments along the lines of scientists and engineers are "born that way" and that it is not a lifestyle choice are correct. I just find it ironic that a culture that relies so heavily on science and technology has such a cultural bias against those in the field...


Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Do we really need more technical people?
Jon Titus   4/5/2012 5:37:48 PM
Do we need more engineers and scientists in the first place?  A few years ago, we had a flood of engineers out of jobs. The situation has gotten better recently, but we'll always experience an ebb and flow of needs for technical people. Today, companies beg for experienced machinists, tool-and-die makers, and industrial electricians. In a few years, who knows what skills and education companies will need. Getting the government to fund STEM programs--as well as English-lit and art programs, among others--simply distorts supply and demand. From what I see, we have plenty of students who get science and engineering degrees.  I'd like to see statistics and studies that document "shortages" of people in engineering and science. I bet we would find a need for mining and petroleum engineers, and perhaps geologists right now.  After we drill a lot of gas and oil wells, we'll need chemical engineers.  Or perhaps not. Who knows?

That said, it can't hurt to kindle technical interests with science fairs, robotics competitions, electronic-educational kits, and after-school activities. But we individuals stand a better chance at getting kids and grandkids interested in technology than STEM programs in schools.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Geek Chic
Dave Palmer   4/5/2012 6:12:18 PM
NO RATINGS
@williamlweaver: There are definitely aspects of our culture which undermine academic achievement; for example, it's considered perfectly normal and socially acceptable to say, "I'm no good at math."

My Chinese friends tell me that no one would dream of saying this in China; not because Chinese people are naturally better at math, but because it would be deeply embarassing.  It would be like admitting that you can't read or write.  And, in fact, since it's simply not considered socially acceptable to be bad at math, most people in China are proficient in basic math.

Attitudes towards teachers in the U.S. also seem to be less respectful than in many other countries, and attitudes towards education seem to be more lax.  My daughters grew up in El Salvador and moved to the U.S. as teenagers.  In the first year, they were in a bilingual education program.  After the first year, my older daughter graduated and went on to community college, and my younger daughter moved into the regular program at the high school.

During my younger daughter's first week of regular classes, I noticed that she always seemed to be on the couch watching TV when I got home.  The previous year, when she was in bilingual classes, I would usually find her doing homework.

"What's going on?" I asked. "How come you're not doing your homework?"

"I don't have any," she said.

"What do you mean?" I said. "Aren't they giving you any homework?"

"Yeah, but hardly any, and I do it all in class," she said. "The regular teachers don't give as much homework, because they know the kids won't do it."

I was skeptical, but my older daughter backed her up.  She said that the regular students (who, for the most part, were either born or grew up in the U.S.) were much worse-behaved than the bilingual students.  Unlike the bilingual students -- most of whom grew up in Mexico or Central America, and had been taught to respect teachers and value education, even if their own parents were not well-educated -- the regular students were rebellious and disrespectful.  As a result, the regular teachers had to spend more of their time trying to control the classroom, instead of teaching.

Granted, this is in a below-average school district (we are planning to move to a better one), but I suspect the underlying cultural attitudes are not too different, even in the best school districts.

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Do we really need more technical people?
ttemple   4/5/2012 9:37:13 PM
NO RATINGS
"Getting the government to fund STEM programs--as well as English-lit and art programs, among others--simply distorts supply and demand."

"That said, it can't hurt to kindle technical interests with science fairs, robotics competitions, electronic-educational kits, and after-school activities. But we individuals stand a better chance at getting kids and grandkids interested in technology than STEM programs in schools."

Jon,

Well stated, I couldn't agree more.




rkinner
User Rank
Iron
Re: Gotta have the right raw material
rkinner   4/6/2012 10:03:02 AM
NO RATINGS
Agreed, having simply a bunch of students who have been exposed to STEM won't make more engineers.  You almost are born one.  My wife is a Mental Health Counselor and views my colleagues and I as "different" in how we think and make decisions.  Not that our methods are bad, just different.

For those who would be good canadiates, ecconomics makes a big difference.  If you are not sure about your job security in engineering, other professions look better.  My daughter had plenty of STEM exposure and capability but she decided on an IT project management path.  Why?  She saw how I worked and worried about having a job next week (or didn't get a raise for years) and that wasn't for her.  Engineers like logical decisions and most management seem to decide something arbratary from week to week.  There is no support from business for Engineers, they are a cost drain for a company, not a resource to be valued.

I grew up during the space race and got excited with engineering partially because society valued those guys who had the "right stuff" and everybody involved.  Now society values Reality TV and how extreme things can be.  Engineering reflects society's direction since our projects only get funded if there is a demand.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
true market value has been destroyed by government
ChasChas   4/6/2012 11:02:07 AM
NO RATINGS
When the government comes in, supply and demand goes out. Since we already have this problem and nobody will fix it, yes, government should promote STEM at the least.

But, if the market had not been messed with in the first place, the need for STEM would have taken care of itself long ago via true market value.

On the other hand, we can see how dumb our leaders get when THEY get smart.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Tech Future
apresher   4/6/2012 11:17:53 AM
NO RATINGS
RKinner, Completely agree that economics and outlook for jobs is an important factor in what pormising students will choose as their vocation.

SparkyWatt
User Rank
Platinum
Re: It starts AT HOME
SparkyWatt   4/6/2012 12:41:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Did I actually see you advocate giving kids a "certification" without the associated acheivement?  Let's remember what acheiving a certain grade should mean.  It shouldn't mean you've sat at school for that number of years.  It should mean that you've acquired a certain level of skill and knowledge.  To pass a kid who hasn't acheived that isn't doing the kid any favors, it is just lowering the value of the diploma.

No child left behind got a lot of things wrong, and as such has assisted in messing up our education.  Among the problems, it measures the acquisition of facts, but not the ability to reason clearly or think creatively.  Data is easy to come by, what kids need to learn today is not a lot of facts, rather they need to learn how to distinguish good information from bad and how to use the information effectively.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: It starts AT HOME
Rob Spiegel   4/6/2012 12:47:57 PM
NO RATINGS
No Child Left Behind was a good idea, but for a number of reasons, it died when applied. For one thing, those who applied it did not get teacher buy-in. With teachers hating it, it really didn't stand a chance. And once applied, teachers simply taught to the test in order to save their schools. At lot of good that did.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Do we really need more technical people?
Rob Spiegel   4/6/2012 12:52:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Good points, Jon. However, there is one deficit that plagues technology, computer coders. When asked what his biggest challenge was with Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg recently said, "Talent!" All of Silicon Valley is competing for talent. They're pressuring the government to open the doors to more Asian imigrants, since we're not growing enough of our own.

<<  <  Page 2/5  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs from STEM Connection
Cal Poly students use 3D printing to take flight -- and pass their class.
Google has teamed up with the German research institute Fraunhofer IAIS to develop and offer OpenRoberta, which simplifies programming for LEGO Mindstorm robots for German kids and teachers and lets them control the robots from mobile devices.
The ornaments will be the result of the first-ever White House 3D-Printed Ornament Challenge, a contest that shows the Obama administration promoting one of the most disruptive design technologies to date.
This year's James Dyson Award winner created an inexpensive incubator to help curb childhood death in the developing world.
In the early 1950s, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab offered young people the opportunity to watch radioactive decay with a spinthariscope, measure the radioactivity of uranium ore with an electroscope, watch the tracks formed by alpha particles in a cloud chamber, and even prospect for uranium using a Geiger counter. Yikes!
Design News Webinar Series
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Dec 1 - 5, An Introduction to Embedded Software Architecture and Design
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service