Douglas6 wrote:Yeah, OK, ants. The world needs doctors, lawyers, politicians, service workers, and poets too. Let's not assume that a need for technicians equates to everybody needing to be a technician.
Hey Douglas6 - I'm not sure what the bent of your response was, but it seems like you're in favor of education being about more than just bits and other technologies. I mentioned Wilson's work not so much because of the ants (although the parallels he draws between ant colonies and, arguably, "higher" forms of "civilizations" - witness this forum, as an example(!) - are worth the read), but to provide an example of what can be done to make more-than-just-interesting what would otherwise be boring dreck. A _LOT_ of STEM curricular material is just that kind of coma-inducing stuff (sleep just doesn't adequately describe the impact!) - just look at some of our blather here
. It's really challenging to get teenagers in a comprehensive high school (that means we have to serve everyone from severe special education cases to Einsteins-in-the-making) who aren't already hard-core geeks to pay any attention to what we're trying desperately to convey.
I had a conversation with a young lady in a computing class just today who doesn't even want to be in our HS, let alone the IT Academy because she wanted to attend another HS with a culinary program and learn baking. I told her that there are waaaay too many other young ladies ... and gentlemen ... who want to do exactly the same thing, hence the reason there weren't enough openings in the HS with the culinary program (someone was citing _Adam_ Smith, and supply and demand earlier ... QED). I told her that all she needed to do was learn what I can teach her, because she and the culinary-program HS graduates were still going to need to attend a culinary school after HS anyway. However, she would have a leg up on all of her competitors, because she would have extra dimensions of education and experience that will come in handy when, not if, the IT infrastructure in a restaurant she was working in had issues, and there's a _lot_ of tech in kitchens these days that's driven by computing and networking.
I also told her that she will have skills in everything from web design (and every restaurant has some presence on the WWW, even if it's just posting the current menu) to social media exploitation and search engine optimization. Restaurant owners are going to be very interested in a baker who knows her way around a keyboard as well as she does a rolling pin. Then, there's the whole financial/business side of the food industry, and she probably had better not bank (pun fully intended) on being a baker her whole life if she's interested in a lasting career, vs. just jobs du jour. It's nice to want to be the best baker in the world, but sometimes desire just isn't enough if you don't have the innate skills needed, or at least the ability to learn them ... on your own dime and time, unless you're a relative of the owner. Another avenue that IT knowledge opens up is video media, since there are entire channels and globs of the Internet devoted to food, and there doesn't seem to be an upper limit to how much of it viewers want to digest (yes, another pun, lucky you!).
Anyway, I hope I've gotten across how interrelated fields have become, and that computing, telecommunications, and robotics are touching and revolutionizing everything. I was told by a graduate school professor that within ten years of earning my undergraduate engineering degree, there would be two kinds of engineers - those who understood how to exploit computing, and those who were unemployed. I earned my MSCS (although I'd been doing hardware and software development since my freshman year in college) nine years after my undergraduate engineering degree because I could see what was happening in Silicon Valley. All of my HS classmates who also became engineers when I did were unemployed not long after that decade of transition, and they wound up in dead-end jobs with no career prospects because they hadn't adapted.
We had to memorize a saying at the Naval Academy that we recited during "chow call" (a litany of the next meal's menu, the movies showing in the Yard and out in town, and other constantly-changing trivia that helped us learn to memorize facts rapidly, needed in combat, just keeping aircraft airborne let alone shooting down others, or blowing up crap on the surface, among many other scenarios) before we beat feet to get in formation. It started one minute before formation and ended with, " ... Time, tide, and formation wait for no one (it was "no man" when I was there
), I am now shoving off, Sir(/Ma'am)!"
Time, tide, and formation wait for no one, indeed!