Educating youth with subject matter that matters

A while back I wrote about the relevance (or lack their of) of the systematic approaches taken by the public school systems and large universities. I would argue that practical and relevant hands-on approaches need to be implemented to better educate the youth in such a competitive global economy. In many instances, parents recognize the need for specific types of education. In fact, one of my relatives has a tutor come to his house once a week to teach his son conversational Japanese, as his business realizes economic growth with Japanese based companies. Fred Wilson also recognizes the importance of practical education and so, in his post today he writes:

“But this year we went one step further. We got our son Josh a young teacher who came over in the evening once a week and taught him how to write code and make a rudimentary computer game. We didn’t know of anywhere in the city to send Josh for this kind of class, so we contacted a local company, Blue Tomato, that provides supplemental tutoring and test preparation.”

Imagine a classroom that prepares students for TODAY’s world, for TODAY’s challenges.

I was fortunate enough to have a high school teacher that also recognized the extreme importance of technology in the classroom (I thank him for his role in influencing me to pursue Electrical Engineering). His name is David Peins and his company is Robodyssey. In his high school Robotics class, we were taught math, physics, electronics, and computer programming all while building robots (my robot can be seen below), and this all happened between the 9th and 12th grade. I learned about semiconductor devices, NPN, PNP transistors, tutebot circuits, and more, 3 years before they were even introduced to me in my Semiconductor Devices classes, (my junior year of college).

If America is going to keep up with the ever changing, fast paced global economy, we need these types of teaching mediums. One that provide relevance to today’s technological and societal challenges, while extracting the most value out of a classroom setting.

“I believe in engaged education and I believe in pushing the envelope and trying new things. Things like this.

Our kids are growing up in a different world than we did. We have to teach them using these new tools. Not just the ones that were used on us.

Fred W. could not be more right.

My Robot (and Chris Murphy) from HIGH SCHOOL: (The robot was a self-navigating, automated fire fighting robot. It autonomously navigated a maze using ultrasound and infrared sensors, found a lit candle in one of the rooms, and blew out the candle)

 

Full photo gallery here.