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Paulina Hernandez: Fostering an Interest in Science and Technology in Young People

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by Paulina Hernandez
Expert Educator Columnist, Mexico

Have you ever wondering why, when you ask a child, “What will you be when you grow up?” They normally answer with an astronaut, an inventor or any answer really cool, no matter how crazy it sound to us, for them it is actually quiet simple but when you ask them again when they reach a greater age they think completely different and you get most common answers.

I think that everybody knows that there are some educational systems that kill the curiosity and love of learning in children. So that has an impact in young people declining to engaged in careers of technology and science.

So to change it we would have to change from basic education models and that unfortunately is not near to be seen nor simple either in some of our countries. However we teachers can try to plant this small seed of love and curiosity, but how?

Well I’ll share you one of my favorite methods:

As a begining of the class activity, the first 5 minutes, one of my students do a presentation about some technology or science invention related to the subject in matter.

Example:

In the field of biology a student presented how a group of doctors with more people invented a method that helps reproduce human organs through a 3D printer!, which uses stem cells instead of ink, totally amazing right?.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SfRgg9botI]

In the field of mathematics another student presented how some MIT students invented a table of tangible 3D technology using a Kinect. So while you chat, anything that you want in 3D form would appear on the other side through the table. When chatting you can see, write, speak, but could we touch ?. In other words in a not too distant future we will be able to chat and shake hands with the person who is talking to you on the other side of the world, among many other uses.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvtfD_rJ2hE]

And this can be applied to any subject.

This activity meets 4 things:

  • It is used as an introduction, as an art of distraction and focus them in class because it is a beginning activity.
  • It is use for students to acquaint them to present to a class, as we know at a young age many are scared to present in front of a classroom, having really cool information to present, can help them with this.
  • And the most important to me, that presentations are made to awaken the curious part in them because it makes them realize what awesome creations could be done thanks to science and technology.

Besides ICT can be use in this activity too, as a Powerpoint presentation which included images, videos, sound and information.

With this, students can see how important technology and science is in any subject, and for them to be interested in it in these days is invaluable and not easy to achieve.

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