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cdhmanning
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
cdhmanning   5/18/2011 4:50:50 AM
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Actually many animals practice genocide. Lions definitely do. If a lion comes across cubs from a different pride it will try to kill them. This is routine, more so than with humans. Why? Competing for resources, just like people do.

Code Monkey
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Code Monkey   5/17/2011 3:52:21 PM
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Young children have done well with conceptually simple languages like Logo and Forth, having the advantage that they have not yet been taught to think in infix. The problem is that the school system is not structured in a way that would foster engineering education. Teachers have to cater to the lowest common denominator of a pool of mush heads. The best they could do is set up a "Geek Lab", where kids get to play with technologies, being taught through interactive DVD.

Code Monkey
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Code Monkey   5/17/2011 3:35:44 PM
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Although I was very young at the time, I don't remember anyone asking me if I wanted to be a US citizen when I was born.

AlPothoof
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
AlPothoof   5/16/2011 5:16:56 PM
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I don't have the title of it, I came across reference to it in Manufacturing and Technology News where it was referenced as being created by The Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Among other things, they referenced a meeting with Bob Herbold, executive vice president of Microsoft, who told them: "We are on the decline in the production of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates at the bachelor's level, and the JOB NEEDS ARE , IN FACT, DECLINING EQUALLY AS FAST, IF NOT FASTER." (emphasis mine). He went on to say "Probably the number-one finding ... is the fact that we have a shift here of monumental proportions in terms of JOBS and capabilities and competitiveness...to seriously bite into our industrial base." (emphasis mine) You can train buggy whip makers all day long and you won't reinvigorate the buggy whip industry. But, if you provide decent jobs, you will get graduates pursuing those positions. I keep hearing about the shortage we're going to have in industry over the next 30 or so years as the older workers retire; while its true that the work force will shrink, I don't see the jobs being there to support that concern. Likewise, during our current downturn, I have seen a lot of people retrained for jobs that simply aren't there.

Duane Benson
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Duane Benson   5/16/2011 4:51:19 PM
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I think the fact that there is controversy over the idea of "Starting to push specialized learning topics" such as engineering makes a powerful statement. I doubt that anyone would question the wisdom of introducing young kids to specialized activities like sports, or like art. Yet, even the engineering community here is questioning the wisdom of introducing engineering at that same age. A big part of the problem is that it is still not main-stream socially acceptable to go into technical fields. Sports are glorified. The arts are held in high esteem. Why not engineering? They don't have to start by building bridges or learning differential equations. Start them small and just make the idea socially acceptable. Then, like other disciplines, kids with a predisposition for technology will move in that direction. Today, those same kids not only have to fight the learning curve, they also have to fight societies negative stereotypes. Fix that and engineering will be just another choice instead of a path outside of the norm.

Quickbadger
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Quickbadger   5/16/2011 4:37:08 PM
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Some "fellow citizens" need "blowing up". Engineering aptitude just comes to some of us. Weapons development is also something that comes naturally to some of us. In my circles, we find it odd that some engineers wouldn't work in our field. BTW - We are not all "citizens" of the earth. Citizen implies membership in a political construct.

Quickbadger
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Quickbadger   5/16/2011 4:25:05 PM
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I always find it disturbing when politicians think that they can have schools push children into any particular field. This country (US) was founded on having the freedom to persue our individual desires. Seems to have worked incredibly well (historically unprecidented)! I say NO to specialized education. But schools should allow exposure to various fields; preferably by having those in private industry come in and share their experience with the students.

Quickbadger
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Quickbadger   5/16/2011 4:16:02 PM
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It looks like most of us started down the tech route on our own. Why? - because we found it interesting/fun. My fear is that schools pushing engineering would create the opposite effect, because schools remove fun and stiffle young interests. The best thing that can be done is for schools to teach the basics and let the kids experiment on their own. Kids need to be able to tear things apart and not have a bunch of safety and regulatory crap to worry about. Let them have the unfettered fun. If they have an aptitude, they will learn the correct way to do things later and become good, practical engineers. Schools need to concentrate on reading (so they can learn on their own), writing (so they can communicate their ideas), and math (so they can understand the physical world).

Robotics Developer
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Robotics Developer   5/16/2011 2:32:49 PM
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I was one of those kids who stuck stuff into electrical outlets and landed across the room (according to my mother). I wonder now if that is why I became an Electrical Engineer! Kids are naturally curious, like to do things with their hands and if infected with the engineering bug will pursue it one way or another. Kindergarten seems early to me but perhaps very basic engineering concept toys like gears/wheels would be a great start. We homeschool our kids and about half of them have the engineering disease (I always felt engineering was a disease not a major). I love to build/design/create things and hope that my kids will have better opportunities to work and create. Given the number of times layouts/downsizings have occurred they may very well stay away from engineering out of self preservation. My guess is probably not, but I advise them to pick jobs and careers very carefully.

Shallowford
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re: Engineering for kindergarteners
Shallowford   5/16/2011 12:30:38 PM
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Amen.

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