On Wed, 5 Sep 2018 23:29:17 +1000, Peter Moylan
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Scientific American article on what Internet metaphors hide.
A misleading term that often irritates me is "technology". Yes, I know
what the word means, but the word is used far too often by people who
don't know what it means.
In the popular mind, "technology" seems to mean things like Twitter or
Facebook or Microsoft Excel or a web site for sharing photos. (So the
many non-computer technologies are excluded from the outset.) Sure, the
designers had to use appropriate technologies to create these platforms,
but that's not what the abusers of the word have in mind. They're
talking about the _use_ of those platforms by people who have not the
faintest idea of how and why they work. So suddenly someone who knows
how to type a sentence into Facebook is a technologist.
Why does this bother me? Because it downgrades and hides the
contribution of the people who did the real work. The Twitter platform
is, apparently, something that exists by magic, or was created by a god,
or was always there before the creation of the universe. People are
discouraged from thinking about how it really was made. In particular,
school children are not given the message that they, too, can be
involved in the creation of new things.
There is a fashion nowadays for talking about STEM (science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics), and the people who are talking about it
are politicians who wouldn't know a scientific theory if they tripped
over one. I'm all in favour of the STEM meme if it encourages schools to
make science and mathematics more attractive, and universities to
produce more graduates in the growth areas. But I'm against it if it
tries to define "science" as "posting things to Instagram".
In the UK is an organisation named "STEM Learning".
STEM Learning is the largest provider of education and careers
support in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
We work with schools, colleges and others working with young people
across the UK.
Supported by a unique partnership of Government, charitable trusts
and employers, we are dedicated to raising young people’s engagement
and achievement in STEM subjects and careers.
Just one part of what the organisation does is to provide "STEM
A problem with schools (primary/elementary and secondary/high) is that
the science teachers typically have little or no personal experience of
applying their knowledge to solve problems, i.e. engineering.
The STEM Ambassadors are applied scientists/engineers who are actively
involved in using their knowledge and skills:
STEM Ambassadors include people from a range of disciplines and
backgrounds, including engineers, designers, architects, scientists
and technicians. They help bring a new and inspiring perspective to
STEM lessons and career opportunities.
Our aim is to ensure that teachers, schools and colleges, as well as
youth and community groups, are able to access STEM Ambassador
support to inspire and engage young people with STEM subjects.
What do they do?
We work with over 30,000 STEM Ambassadors from more than 2,500
different employers. They volunteer their time, enthusiasm and
experiences to encourage and inspire young people to progress
further in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
Through a range of activities, including presentations, mentoring
and careers talks, STEM Ambassadors play an essential role in
inspiring the next generation with the world of STEM subjects and
careers. Their support isn't just limited to the classroom...
Peter Duncanson, UK