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Engineering the future: Embedding engineering permanently across the school-university interface

MacBride, G. and Hayward, L. and Hayward, G. and Spencer, E. and Ekevall, E. and Magill, J. and Bryce, A.C. and Stimpson, Brian P. (2010) Engineering the future: Embedding engineering permanently across the school-university interface. IEEE Transactions on Education, 53 (1). pp. 120-127. ISSN 0018-9359

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Abstract

This paper describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of an educational program. Engineering the Future (EtF) sought to promote a permanent, informed awareness within the school community of high-level engineering by embedding key aspects of engineering within the education curriculum. The Scottish education system is used for a case study in which a range of pilot high schools worked in close partnership with two university engineering departments. The study focuses on electronic/electrical engineering (EEE), a technically challenging area, which reflects many of the problems that are intrinsic to modern society. In so doing, the work also sought to support and refine the transition from the school environment to higher education engineering courses. EtF is founded on research into transformational change and describes the findings of a three-year program that sought to develop sustainable and transferable means of encouraging school students to study engineering at university. The authors describe the conditions needed to support sustainable developments. They also provide an analysis of inevitable constraints and suggest strategies to address these issues. The paper concludes that sustainable long-term promotion of engineering within schools to support the transition to university is possible if certain conditions are fulfilled. These conditions include the use of a model that facilitates partnerships among researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners in all sectors. Building such essential linkages is often challenging, but this effort is necessary if changes in engineering education are to be realized and sustained.