On October 9 and 10 in Baltimore MD, over 100 educators and engineers met to launch a collaborative effort to promote universal technological literacy. In a hands-on, highly participative workshop, breakout groups, comprised of equal numbers of engineers and educators, met to propose specific strategies and develop action plans.
With the growing influence of technology on everyday life, the general public must have a certain level of technological understanding to attain a reasonable quality of life. The TLC workshop was held to help ensure that teachers have the resources, knowledge and community support to empower our students to become productive citizens, consumers and employees in the next century.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) led other engineering professional societies in this effort to focus more strategically on how engineers and educators can best leverage each others' resources to this end. While IEEE has had a pre-college education initiative since 1984, technological change has picked up such momentum that organizations can no longer afford to work alone, but must align with each other and with the grass roots educators to effect significant change.
Workshop participants came from all parts of the country as well as India, United Kingdom and South Africa. They all agreed that communicating an appreciation and understanding of technology was a very challenging task, and that a multi-pronged approach was called for.
Presentations by notables such as Dr. Joseph Bordogna, IEEE President, Dr. William Wulf, President, the National Academy of Engineers, and Dr. Eleanor Baum, President of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) demonstrated the support of engineering leadership. Attendees like Kendall Starkweather, Executive Director, International Association of Technology Education and Robert Gabrys, Chief Education Officer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center echoed this sentiment.
The attendees, though from two very diverse groups, quickly built rapport and united in their agreement that change is needed in several key areas: These are:
The workshop participants agreed that the momentum gained at the event should not be slowed - that while together they should create a plan which they could start implementing as soon as they return to their schools or companies. Some of these activities can be started immediately and others are for the long term, but all are aimed at collaborating and sharing responsibility and success.
The following activities will be initiated immediately:
Manager, Career Development and Outreach
IEEE Educational Activities
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