Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Engineering Education & Teacher Preparation

The entire Intro to Teaching with Technology Tools course has been a great experience allowing teachers and administrators to help understand better use of technology in the classroom. In my opinion all teachers should have preparation in 21st century skills. Working in an institution of higher education, I would argue that this preparation is needed for professors as well. Outside of the School of Education, the value that is placed on "teaching" or encouraging student learning is lacking. In fact, when articulating my graduate school plans to my engineering department director, the response was "Once you know the content the teaching is insignificant? Why does that degree interest you?" It is not a surprise that this came from one of the most disliked professors in the school, but the comment speaks numbers to the perception of education preparation.

Through my experiences in this class it is clear that the needs of this generation of students are immense to be successful in the 21st century. As these academic and training needs increase, it requires educators to rethink learning environments, how education is being delivered, how it can be made personalized, and the resources that are available to encourage self learners.

Here is a very interesting talk I came across from the University Of Virginia:


One of the concerns that he expresses is the fear that the US will not be able to compete with nations like India and China because the engineering curriculum is preparing students for jobs 20 and 30 years ago as opposed to developing the skills students need in an industry that changes yearly. This is the type of vision and guidance that has to be established by top administrators within these schools to ensure that students are getting the skills they need to compete in industry. Mechanisms have be established within each engineering department to make sure there is a balance in fundamental and industrial concepts.