Students of all ages need access to hardware that lets them experience early successes and scales to their abilities, eventually allowing them to learn on the same technology they will see after graduation.
My kids loved Roller Coaster Tycoon. It's a simulation game where you build rollercoasters on the computer. The velocity and accelerations of these coasters were pretty accurate and helped to initially expose them to basic laws of physics.
Rob, it totally depends upon the discipline and this is not happening in all universities as well i was just discussing this generally that no doubt engineering universities provide very good hands on on different devices but their practical exposure is not as much as required . They gain practical exposure when they enter into their professional lives.
Chuck, Sims is still around, bigger than ever. There's a ton of varieties, from fashion (very big) to roller coasters. For years it was the biggest software package for girls. My daughter spent tons of hours on Sims -- and scores of Dad's dollars. Nearly 200 million copies have been sold, making it the largest PC franchise in history.
A few years back, Rob, there was a childrens' product -- I believe it was called "Sim City." It was fun for kids because they could create their own cities in a CAD environment. I don't know what happened to that product, but I'm willing to bet it drew some kids toward engineering and architecture.
"Creating an inspired classroom where lesson plans give students "aha" moments using techniques and tools the pros use to apply mathematical models to real-world data is critical to inspiring students. Educators need to provide students with interactive and fun lessons that are academically rigorous and deliver fundamental concepts that bring theory to life, and that's hard work."
It is hard work and with a lack of resources, the task becomes daunting. My son attended a charter school for junior high one semester. We found that the advertsing did not meet reality and his science teacher was not even supplied textbooks - she was actually using a book on oceanography that I had sent with my son one day as a "show and tell." When I offered to do a robotics club for her class, we actually held it during regular class time, to the delight of the teacher. My request to have copies made of some handouts I had created was met with trepidation - the school monitored how many copies the teacher would make and I wound up paying Office Depot to make copies so that I didn't use up all of my ink on my home printer. My husband and I purchased all of the stuff we needed and there was no budget available for the club. While the students were very eager and excited about the club, the lack of support from the school was discouraging.
On the other side of the spectrum, we visited a public junior high school where my son had entered a chess tournament and as we wandered the halls waiting for him to finish a match - we peered into a class room that had amazing contents - student built electronics projects where scattered throughout that included what looked like Arduino boards.
The need for both mentors AND resources is key and must have school support to truly be an effective program.
Debra, I think it depends on the discipline when it comes to whether students get an understanding of what they will be expected to do when they graduate. The medical field is great at job training. And while engineering may be less so, I still think engineering schools prepare students for jobs better than most other disciplines do.
Good point, Chuck. The toy-like products in FIRST and Mindstorms are kid magnets. I wish we'd see that with computer aided engineering. Kids love their video games. When are they going to discover that much of computer aided engineering is beginning to resemble video games.
It should be the responsibility of universities to send their students for appropriate internships and industry related programmes so that they are aware what is the requirement of industries for newly graduates. Seminars should be arranged by different Organisations for students for their career counclings.
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