'Engineering' and 'digital tools' together create a deep sea of knowledge and endless possibilities. In the last two blogs the conversation was about how to incorporate various digital tools into an engineering curriculum. Content specific STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) videos can create a virtual opportunity for STEM students to learn. Blogging can help STEM students reflect about their engineering experiences, stay in touch with real world of engineering problems, and practice the extremely crucial skill of written communication. After reading the texts about Webquests and everything else that we have learned thus far, it still seems an overwhelming task choose what is 'right' and to actually bring the endeavors to fruition in the curriculum.
It is becoming more apparent to me that being a finicky fisherman in the sea of digital-fish is the right way to be. The fisherman, or the educator in this case must do her due diligence in researching the proper fishing rod, bait, boat, location, time/date, etc. to make the excursion a success. Once the fish have been reeled in, the consumers (students) must have the right seasonings, pans, and utensils available to cook and then digest it all. OK, enough with the fishing analogy. The bottom line is that a great deal of thought and effort should go into choosing and using technology in the classroom.
In the chapters this week about Webquests, a light turned for me on in regards to virtual field trips for the introductory engineering class that I designed and teach. In my class, we learn about the different majors of engineering. Part of the class includes taking tours of departments. Would it be feasible to make a virtual tour of the departments, junior/senior courses, and labs? I think the answer is a big YES! We are not able to have a whole class visit a senior design class and have it be productive without wasting a class period for the seniors. But we can videotape senior design classes, lab tours, etc. that each student can view on their own or as a class. As an after-assignment and expository practice, students could write a blog, write and entry in a Facebook group, post in a wiki, or other similar assignment. This is not an easy task. Making good videos will take work. But once done, the information will serve the students for semesters and years to come.
Time for me to get to work!