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2010 October 2

eGFI: encouraging K-12 students into engineering

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 08:14
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The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is interested in encouraging more students to go into engineering fields and for them to be better prepared for college-level engineering classes when they come out of high school.  They have a magazine (paper and on-line) called eGFI, which supposedly started out standing for Engineering: Go For It! The magazine only comes out once every 2 years and is rather heavy-handed promotional material.

The weekly online newsletters for teachers and for students seem better written and more likely to inspire kids to become engineers.  I’m not sure how articles are distributed between the two newsletters, as much of the teacher newsletter seems to be just cool stuff written for high schoolers.  The difference mainly seems to be the length, with the student newsletter having fewer articles. One thing that is specifically for teachers is the K–12 education news, which is separate from the newsletters on the website.

I started exploring the eGFI website after getting a link to one of their news articles on computer science education in K–12. That article described a 3-day workshop sponsored by Google at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The article seems to be a condensation of a more complete article by Xconomy. (They mention Xconomy, but don’t link to the longer article, which I regard as sloppy practice, close to plagiarism.) Computer science departments see huge fluctuations in the number of students taking their classes, much more than in other disciplines, and their enrollments are way down from a few years ago, so they have an interest in increasing the flow of students into their classes.  This workshop for high school teachers (not necessarily computer science teachers) was an attempt to widen the pipeline at the entrance to college.

The teacher website also has links to class activities and lesson plans, roughly sorted by grade level (K–5, 6–8, 9–12).  The  teachers’ RSS feed (which is fairly well hidden, since they seem to be pushing e-mail subscriptions, but can be found in the left-hand panel of the newsletter pages) seems to include newsletters, news, lessons, activities, and reports, and averages about 2 messages a day. The students’ RSS feed averages only 4.4 messages a week (again, it can be found in the left-hand panel of the student newsletter pages).

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