Innovation Through Engineering Education

How best to improve the nation’s technological competitiveness is not an easy problem to tackle. Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, presided over a Senate hearing, Fostering Innovation in Math and Science Education, on Wednesday which explored the importance of science, math, and engineering education in fueling innovation and competition in an increasingly high-tech society. Ensign and fellow panelists discussed science and engineering awareness, rising international competition in innovation and the importance of role models as key factors to get more students into the engineering pipeline.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Panelists, comprised of leaders in education and the hi-tech industry, addressed weaknesses in the American educational system, specifically infrastructure within U.S. schools, the deficiency of minority students in math and science fields, lack of qualified math and science teachers, and the lack of parental support. Solutions to some of these problems surfaced during the course of the day: increased federal support in math and science education — including tax incentives, investments in education from private companies, after-school programs and internships, and, most importantly, motivation.

Read more about Ensign’s hearing at Ensign’s website and in PC Magazine.

Image courtesy of The Hill

One Response to “Innovation Through Engineering Education”

  1. Ben Yates says:

    It is phenomenal to hear what we need in this country to bolster innovation and creativity is more of the same (math & science) that is not working in the first place! This article ends with “……..internships, and, most importantly, motivation.” I can tell you as a parent and veteran teacher of 32 years, motivation does not come from doing more of the same thing over and over. Kids do not get turned on to math and science because they do not see the relevance in it. They are told to take math one because they will be taking math two and three. Why are they taking math one and two? Because the “state” says they have to take it to graduate. There are wonderful and very successful programs out there that give students the understanding, relevance, and yes, motivation to take the needed math and science courses. Technology Education courses [and I don’t mean “computer courses – Technology: the process of altering the natural world to enhance (satisfy human wants and needs) the human condition.”] provide real world experiences which give students understanding and reason to take math and science programs. The study of robotics, automation, pre-engineering problem solving, and much more allow students to apply math and science thereby providing both external and internal motivation followed by a desire to take math and science courses. Of course these types of programs/courses are not supported by the liberal arts agenda as they do not meet the “more of the same bad stuff” is still “bad stuff.” Help kids see and experience the relevance and they will gladly accept the need and challenge for “more” good math and science.

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