Engineering teachers should get more credit for their resourcefulness and creativity, especially from education bureaucrats.
SAVANNAH, Ga.--Sitting in front of me are 150 people who hold our future in their hands.
They're teachers from the Georgia Engineering Teachers Education (GETEA) association, and they have asked me to speak at their annual conference here about the Drive for Innovation.
I want to hear from them as much as they want to hear from me what's going on outside their little piece of the country.
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Once the cradle of cotton and textiles, Georgia is desperately trying to beef up its technology education to attract tech businesses and create jobs.
A few years ago, the state adopted a track-based approach to high school education--whether it's farming or engineering--you pick the track as a freshman, and that's your emphasis for the next four years.
GETEA's been around for decades and the state chapter of the Technology Student Association (the TSA that doesn't pat you down) is one of the country's most active.
But it's a battle.
On a soft warm fall Saturday outside of Woodville Tompkins High School, I tell them about our year-long journey, emphasizing what we saw at colleges and K-12 programs around the nation.
I tell the educators about Baird Soules at the M5 maker center at UMass-Amherst; the Penn EV team; about the four Arizona State Engineering students who spend their "free" time mentoring grade school kids about technology and math as part of SAE program. I tell them of the integrated program at High Tech High in San Diego.
And I joked about Don Morgan, the teacher-inspiration behind our first high school stop on the trip as we drove through quiet little Quitman, Ga. Morgan is a force of nature in these parts, and he asked me to come talk of our adventures.
My message: As technology increasingly feeds on itself, it makes the tools of innovation easier to use and available to a non-traditional audience. This means teachers need to not only to build nimble, problem-solving minds but put technology in students' hands and say, "Here, go break this and tell me what you learned."