Amen to that, mrdon – bootstrapping is good word, and engineers love to do things themselves. I recently saw a list published (wish I could recall it for posting, but can't remember ... ) a listing of people considered "Most Trusted". At the top of the list were Nurses, Doctors, and Engineers; and while Car Salesmen were dead last, Congressmen were 2nd to last. Yet somehow, Gov't & congressional mandates still rule so many of our daily activities – as if they know best.
I've been on three sides of this issue for most of my career. Industry, Teaching (Technical), and Volunteering in the public school system. From my point of view, the problem of getting industry people into schools with their valuable experience is a fault that lies in misunderstanding on each of the three sides. But a key way to improve this problem lies in having a school leader who can take (or assign) the role of a volunteer coordinator. Teachers and to some extent administrators already have a lot on their plate, and often don't fully understand themselves how a system can work. Industry often doesn't understand the environment well enough know how and where their resources can be used, and volunteers and teachers need to develop a working trust relationship before students are "turned over". Again, long story short, a person serving the role of volunteer coordinator can build the methodology to mesh these three entities together. I guess the hurdle becomes, how to get the importance of this kind of position into the minds of all parties involved. Hmm... seems like I just wrote myself a job description!
I agree completely, Scott. Simply putting a new emphasis on technology in schools is a step in the right direction. I remember in the 80s when Apple started pushing computers into school. They won a good portion of a whole generation by going into schools.
JimT, Yes, sometimes the best solutions to problems is from people bootstrapping their own resources. Today's society is based on people solving problems using skills and knowledge they have instead of dependency from government agencies. The red tape can really slow down progress.
It IS a great idea. I hope the US Gov't takes note of this. A strong example of private industry working in a free market, to strengthen the economy and provide education for the future. As it should be; growth and strength by the people, for the people -- without bureaucratic intervention and need to control.
Hi, T.J. Yes, some time off from a job to teach or volunteer at a school would help students and teachers, but I don't know of any companies that make provisions for such a thing. At one time Apple gave employees a sabbatical, and it still might. A "sabbatical" of an afternoon a week to teach or assist kids makes a lot of sense. Companies and schools would need some sort of curriculum so volunteers wouldn't just show up and "hang out" with students. Some teachers and administrators get prickly, though, when approached about getting assistance from non-teachers. They think their teachers know everything and often shun outside assistance. Sad but true; and I have run into this situation here.
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