Monday, August 15, 2011

Engineering For Kids

Today begins Lego Robotics, DaVinci Inventions and Green Energy Camp, the second Engineering for Kids camp series of the summer. Prior to these two camps, we completed two camps on computer game design with 50 students and 4 teachers leading the way. Zhenerbee was one of two students to successfully develop two games, Triangleman Versus Dark Ninja Squares and Alien Evaders.

The first part of a successful experience with these camps is understanding all of the different skill sets that will be engaged by a young person. Legos, the toys, are beautiful tools for the constructive mind. They allow 3D conceptualization, hands-on experience at turning ideas into physical forms, practical experience with "failing" and the ease of starting over, and of course fun building things.

As a father, my interest in taking this toy to the next level is found in the learning curve they enable once given some advanced purpose. It is difficult to find repositories of mechanical education these days for young people. The combination of mechanical with electronic is invaluable for a young mind to grasp as early as possible. Adding structured digital programming to the mix allows complete control over automated processes that can be turned into any outcome. Witness:

There are so many gaps that need filling in our modern conceptualization of how life gets lived, that a small post like this will hardly gain a spec of attention. However, if you want to fix the way the next generation participates in the building of our civilization, investing time and effort on this path is invaluable. Mechanical education is in dire need. Electronic education and self-proficiency is becoming essential to self-reliance. Programming digital languages is going to be a default skill required of anyone who considers themselves "smart" in the future. Without these skills, our society and the Individuals who comprise it, will fail miserably to succeed in a world they were handed by their forefathers. And that will not be their fault, just their burden.

Self-reliance education has gone missing. Supplanted by compliance standardization, our society is gaining capabilities and becoming weaker with every passing year. The Facebook hordes have set upon the rest of us like cancerous cells seeking to devour all that is in their awareness. Self-control, self-leadership, self-reliance, self-education, self-empowerment is the stuff that strong societies are born from. A "we" mentality is not sustainable unless there are strong Individuals to give integrity to "We the people" that form from our collective efforts. "See a need, fill a need" is not a bureaucratic process. We can not compete with I & I.

Teaching engineering to kids is a survival and prosperity formula. Unlike the majority of day care facilities we call schools in this nation, practical student-led endeavors turn into passionate pursuits on a daily basis in this arena. Public education should take heed. The employment model that public education is supporting today must be replaced by a meaningful education process. The goal of education is not a good job. It is a better you, better families, better communities and a better world.

I maintain optimism because I travel on the road less travelled. I encourage you to as well.

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Zhenerbee Farms Ledger