In The Lego Movie Emmet, an ordinary LEGO minifigure, finds the "Piece of Resistance," thus fulfilling a prophecy that whoever finds it will save the universe. We engineers have been searching for years for something to save the engineering universe or at least increase interest in engineering.
After finishing up a post over at Big Beacon on Educating Wholehearted Engineers & Educators, I was reflecting about the notion of vulnerability and the ways in which we are vulnerable both publicly and privately.
For an expert, the very idea of not knowing challenges one's self-image, one's entire story of oneself. After all experts are people who have learned and now know a lot about some particular subject, and experts are judged as good or bad depending on the extent of that knowledge.
As Taylor discusses the progress of her stroke, she tells a story of those other worlds, of connection, of oneness, of a quiet mind, and of surrender. It's a beautiful description, and an important one.
The first order of business in approaching engineering education change is to stop making it simpler than it is. Let's think more carefully about how we're going to change at the same time we think about what we would like to change.
Let's use emotional words to talk about emotional processes in educational reform. If we do this, the cool thing is that we will hasten the day when we educate wholehearted engineers and wholehearted engineering educators, both.
If you were to peek into a preschool classroom, you'd find kids whose hands would be busy and whose minds would be racing with different creative possibilities: A rollercoaster using foam pipe insulation! A rocket from a plastic water bottle! These kids are engineers. Most just don't know it.
We need to address values because they are critical for enabling real change in engineering education. After all, if you try to make a change in pedagogy or content without addressing the underlying value system, you are likely to fail.
The next time we feel dubious over whether today's young people possess the talent, courage, drive and commitment to assume mantles of leadership in innovation for tomorrow's global arena, let's remember stories such as this.