Go Down

Topic: How well US students prepare for science and engineering (Read 13407 times) previous topic - next topic

Justinmcg67


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZED4gITL28

"Arithmetic ...false thing that they invented in school so that the children that studied Algebra could all pass it. They had invented a set of rules which if you followed them without thinking could produce the answer" -Richard Feynman

Hallelujah. I still remember the first day of Pre-Calc in high school. "Turn to page 23 & let's begin." Really? We're not going to go over what Calculus is or why it was invented in the first place? No mention of Newton? Christ the least he could have done was got up in front of the class & dropped something on the floor. This is where your "why do we need to learn this" comes from. Philosophy isn't taught. I guess it's not important?

liedur, I just applied for NDSU. I'm getting out of here before spring semester starts. Everyone dropped out, lmao. Btw, we could use more speakers at Code42 (MN Arduino)




This is the most frustrating thing about college that I am experiencing right now. Just teaching how to do certain steps without explaining how the steps came about, or why they are even necessary or important. Natural Logarithms are a great example. We know how to do them, and how to manipulate them to make them easier. But no idea how or why they are useful, how they came about, or why we even do them in the first place.

I think it is analogous to teaching a child to recognise that 2+2=4, without actually telling them what 2 is, what the + symbol is, or anything else. Just that when you see 2+2, it ='s 4. As a student I find college to be more counter-productive at times than beneficial.  I say this because I use my G.I Bill to go to school, so in a way I think that the taxpayers paying for my education have a right to know what is going on inside the University consuming those tax dollars.

cadcoke5

I graduated from High School in 1982, and I am not certain how nation wide my situation was, but I think my generation was victim to the "dumming down"  of school.  The philosophy was that they needed to cater to the lowest common denominator, to make sure more students graduate.

When I was laid off from a job in 2009, I took advantage of the opportunity to get back into a Engineering Technology Associates degree I had started.  One of the things that surprised me was how fully they were immersed into the Metric system. The text books treated the English units as an afterthought. Yet all of the companies I had worked for, were almost exclusively using English units.  In the physics class, which was 100% metric, I was wondering if I was the only one that was concerned about my weakness with using Metric.  I asked the rest of the class if something weighed 10 kg, is it more likely to be a paper clip, a baby, or an elephant.  The only ones who thought they might know the answer were not US born.

So, our physics class, the fundamental class to any engineering program, was being taught in units for which the students had no real-world understanding.  I think what happened, is that the schools taught some metric to the students as they were growing up, and pronounced them "metric literate".  But, for US students, metric is still a foreign unit, and not part of their everyday lives.  So, they are left floundering when more advanced classes immersed them in these foreign units. And to make matters worse, they graduate to US businesses, who use English units.  And since their engineering education was focused on Metric, the students are not as well prepared to use the English units for engineering.

I realize that US students need to be well versed in both Metric and English.  But, to assume you can properly teach basic concepts of physics and engineering using foreign units is foolish.

-Joe


CrossRoads

All this concern over units is over blown. Converting from one to the other is just a matter of multiplying/dividing by 2.54 for cm/inches, or 25.4 for mm/inches. Once you realize its just units, any measure can be converted to any other measure. For example, start with 60 miles/hour, and convert away: 60 miles/hour x 5280 ft/mile x 12 inches/foot x 2.54 cm/inch x 10mm/cm x 1 hour/60 minutes x 1 minute/60 seconds = a very large number of mm/sec.

I graduated high school in 1979, but I was one of those kids who didn't skip classes, did all my homework, and was tracked (in New York state) in classes that led to college.  If you didn't put any effort in, then your education reflected that.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

polymorph

I think it is important to be able to estimate in your head. I've had a lifetime of troubleshooting, often without service manuals or schematics. Being able to sight-read resistor color codes and estimate currents, voltages, power, and resistances quickly has come in very handy.
Steve Greenfield AE7HD
Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
http://gammon.com.au/blink
http://gammon.com.au/serial
http://gammon.com.au/interrupts

liudr

cadcoke,

Maybe your industry background is in traditional mechanical and manufacturing, which still lingers on with English units (say car industry and some else). You won't find metric units there. The English units have no apparent benefit over metric, which is what is used widely even in US for all science and most of engineering fields. Just the everyday stuff such as length and weights are lingering among US people. Understandable. It's a matter of time. The rest of the world is not going to keep making two versions of everything just to serve US and world-US ;)

liudr

If there is a graduation requirement an a separate college preparedness requirement for high school, I would be very supportive. When I graduated from high school (different than US), I took two sets of exams, one for graduation and one for college application. The graduation exam was easier.

From what I know, the US high school graduation requirement in some states is as old as the Ford model T and I am sure a high school graduate can find a decent job around 1900. If you only require one semester of chemistry or physics for the entire high school, like in MN starting in 2015 (no requirement as of now), the STEM students will waste huge tax dollars taking and retaking high school-level chemistry and physics in college. College is dumbed down as well to fit in the 120 credit state requirement for state college BS degree. Same goes with math. The amount of math requirement is laughably little.

I have trouble understanding how this tech advanced nation managed to do its tech advancements with how little STEM it requires its high schoolers to graduate. Maybe by the sheer strong will of those very few individuals per class that eventually become excellent with their pursuit of STEM or spending WWII spoils/gains on attracting foreign brains to fill the gaps.

retrolefty

Quote
Quote
have trouble understanding how this tech advanced nation managed to do its tech advancements with how little STEM it requires its high schoolers to graduate. Maybe by the sheer strong will of those very few individuals per class that eventually become excellent with their pursuit of STEM or spending WWII spoils/gains on attracting foreign brains to fill the gaps.


Possibly because individual drive and initiative is as important or more so then a population/country wide education plan? I've found that in real industry the people there have many different paths to the knowledge and experience they acquired and brought to their companies.

Lefty

robtillaart


Read this one this morning - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2428466,00.asp - something to think...


Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)

retrolefty



Read this one this morning - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2428466,00.asp - something to think...





Seemed like a pretty useless article to me. Lots of generalizations with no supporting data. All I see is lots of misdirected hate statements, with no attempt to show a better method.

Coding Badly


All you need to know about code.org...

Quote
code.org is available.
is at auction through GoDaddy Auctions


The purpose of any content on that site is to raise the price of the domain name.   That  John C. Dvorak did not spot the ruse indicates he should consider retirement.

liudr

I didn't know there was a code.org?! Do people get paid to have their articles published on pcmag.com or the other way around?! LOL

One thing this guy say right was that there is not enough interest among teens in either STEM or coding, sadly. Too much interest in facebook or the alike. When I was a kid, I programmed a short animation with apple 2 and basic. It was copied to every computer in the lab by cassette tape. Nowadays kids aren't easily impressed with lines and beeps anymore. You can't blame them entirely.

robtillaart

We were interested in science/tech because of the Apollo project. NASA was really exploring, being an engineer had a certain status.
Here in the Netherlands we had the Delta Works, a sea defence that was considered impossible to make. All these projects were on TV at prime time. And lets not forget Star Trek, Time Tunnel, Thunderbirds etc

Check shift happens video's - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdvo5FlRqmM -

Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)

Jack Christensen


The purpose of any content on that site is to raise the price of the domain name.


Mighty interesting, but who benefits from bidding up the price of the domain name? Especially given the current bid of $3K. Surely that is not even of passing interest to anyone involved.

Unless they're throwing in the towel after the "hour of code" and the auction is just part of liquidating the assets.
MCP79411/12 RTC ... "One Million Ohms" ATtiny kit ... available at http://www.tindie.com/stores/JChristensen/

Coding Badly

While the domain name is most certainly listed for auction (something only the owner can do) indicating something is afoot my characterization of their intent is wrong...
Quote
The purpose of any content on that site is to raise the price of the domain name.


Quote
Unless they're throwing in the towel after the "hour of code" and the auction is just part of liquidating the assets.


Given the "ending assets" for 2012...
http://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search_detail.aspx?charity_id=34349
...that appears to be likely.

Quote
Mighty interesting, but who benefits from bidding up the price of the domain name? Especially given the current bid of $3K.


According to these schmucks...
http://www.gositevalue.com/www/code.org
...the domain name is worth 1/4 of a million.  Presumably there is a significant amount of money still on the table.  So the owner certainly benefits from bidding up the price!

Quote
Surely that is not even of passing interest to anyone involved.


It's not (yet) a public / binding auction.  At this point, the owner(s) are free to do as they please (counter offer, end the sale, sit on the domain name, redevelop it, etcetera).

Something that really bothers me about Code Org is their (lack of) financial disclosure.  Compare that five line joke to an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America who publish Annual Reports and 990s in an easy-to-find location on their website.  I realize Code Org is significantly smaller but publishing the 990 would essentially cost them nothing.

Go Up