Madelyn Heaston

Madelyn Heaston

Title
Honorable Mention, Grade 3-5, 50 Years of Engineering in Society Essay Contest, 2014
Location
Rogers, AR
Madelyn Heaston
Engineering and Technology in Education

Each century builds upon the technology from the previous century. We live in a time where there is advanced engineering and technology in everything around us. I would like to focus on how they have influenced education in the past fifty years and how it will change in the future.

In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg created the first moveable type printing press which brought knowledge in the form of books to everyone. (1) This was the highest form of engineering 564 years ago! Just as the Gutenberg Press was significant in its time period, the computer and internet played a huge role in education in the past fifty years. Since 1964, the personal computer, calculator, mousepad, WIFI, internet, email, post it note, and firewall were created and have been used in advancing education. (2)   Engineering and technology have helped many people that are blind, deaf, have disabilities and who live in remote areas where education is scarce. For example, education is now available to people who are visually impaired by using braille translator software (3). Fifty years ago if you were visually impaired, you wouldn’t have these opportunities for education. Another example is in Australia some people live hours away from the closest school so they have virtual classrooms using the computer (4).      

Apple devices have educational apps that can be used by the hearing impaired to learn things they wouldn’t have access to before. There is an Ipad compatible device that translates sign language to voice. There are over 20,000 education apps available for Ipad and over 1.5 million Ipads are being used in schools today (5). For example, people who are homeschooled can use educational apps for homeschooling such as Khan Academy. You can take a field trip to almost anywhere in the world without leaving your house. Without engineering and technology influencing education none of this would be possible, including typing this essay.
Technology and engineering in education has accelerated over the past fifty years. In the next fifty years, there will be more online education available worldwide to people who don’t have access today. For example, there will be more online education available worldwide because technology will make it more reasonable for people who can’t afford regular school, especially in countries that are underdeveloped. With engineering, affordable technology can be invented for the visually and hearing impaired. There are more than 285 million visual impaired people in the world and 90 percent of them live in underdeveloped countries, where they may not have much money, according to the World Health Organization (6) Most braille printers start at $1,000. For most people this is not affordable. As education advances in underdeveloped countries, the country will advance with it creating more jobs.

In the next fifty years, technology and engineering will change the appearance of the classroom. There could be touch screen white boards, 3- D hologram teachers, and virtual learning rooms. For example, you walk into a virtual grocery store and you would “shop” the store and use your math skills to purchase the items. Another purpose for these virtual learning rooms would be to test out a career, learn about a country, and learn about world history.

Engineering and Technology have played a huge role in education in the last fifty years and will prove to advance in the next fifty years. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.(7)” This defines technology and engineering for the future, seeing a need and creating a solution beyond your expectation.

REFERENCES:

1: MELTZER, MILTON, (2004) “THE PRINTING PRESS” GREAT INVENTIONS (33)
2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_inventions_(1946–91)
3: “A Beginner's Guide to Access Technology for Blind Students���Part One” (2006), https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr21/fr06ws12.htm
4 :“School of the Air- Australian Children”, http://www.australian-children.com/school of the air.htm
5: “Apple has 20,000 educations apps” (2012) http://9to5mac.com/2012/01/19/ipad-already-has-20000-educations-apps-says-apple/
6: “Boy invents Cheaper Braille printer using Lego”, Kidsnews.com, February 25, 2014
7: “Famous quotes” (2012) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-ditkoff/innovation-quotations_b_1971546.html