Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

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wendy.murphy in

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http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/calling-for-innovators-our-students-must-learn-to-create-new-technologies-not-just-enjoy-them-628186/

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April 20, 2012
9:50 am

I really agree with this and I think it’s a true challenge for young people today. In my view, the big problem here is that today’s technology is daunting and very difficult to visualize and understand.

Take the cover off an iPhone and what do you see? Tiny, incomprehensible components that all look the same, plus some black plastic ICs of enormous complexity. Nary a wire to be seen. Open the hood of any car and there’s a monolithic, logo-decorated metal and plastic behemoth whirring away mysteriously.

Contrast this with the view of a scientifically-inclined youngster in say, 1967 :-) Take the cover off a transistor radio – there’s the battery, look at the antenna, and hey! there’s the seven transistors the metal plate on the cover mentions. Is this like the crystal radio kit I built? Open the hood of Dad’s Buick and you can see the plug wires, belts, and if you’re curious enough the mechanical linkage between the gas pedal inside the car and the carburetor. Why you can even get your little brother to rev the engine by pulling the linkage under the hood ;-)

Point is that today’s technology is far less accessible. Much of it – the integrated circuit chips specifically – has dimensions that are measured in nanometers and component counts in the billions.

Students, how do we get you interested? There is so much technology to capture your attention these days! Given that you can’t really touch and feel what’s going on “under the hood” so to speak, how do we pique your curiosity as to how this stuff all works?


Posted by: Tony
 
 
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