Education: January 2007 Archives

New dinosaurs: Spelling, conversation skills, CNet

"The modern wired family is seeing a few mainstays going the way of the dinosaur: landlines, printed dictionaries, maps, newspapers and, of course, the need to remember phone numbers or learn to spell. That's according to a broad new national study, called "The Digital Family," released this week by the No. 1 cable network Nickelodeon. The findings are among the first examinations of technology usage in the home, and they're part of a wider effort among U.S. researchers to understand how rapidly advancing technology is changing the family structure, as well as the way kids communicate and are educated and entertained."

Editor's note: Gee, didn't NASA help invent a lot of this electronic and information technology in the first place? Wow, such pervasive societal spinoffs - and yet NASA doesn't even have a clue how to participate in this next (ongoing) revolution it helped to foment ...

Exhibit One: Lisa Porter, one of NASA's senior managers, says "I don't think that we need to adapt our educational strategies to the short attention span of today's students," stated Dr. Porter. "Rather, I think that we need to teach them discipline and perseverance. We need to coach them not to expect instant gratification, but to recover from failure and keep going - a quality shared by productive aerospace engineers."

Guess what Lisa, you are now obsolete. You need an upgrade.

Heads Up For NASA PAO and Outreach Personnel (You Too, Lisa Porter), Earlier post

Creating The Next Generation of Rocket Scientists, Earlier post

Lisa Porter Has Her Head in the Sand, Earlier post

Not seeing eye to eye on the Vision, The Daily Aztec

"Space exploration does not call for the frills of a propaganda campaign. This sort of fascination taps into nearly every human imagination. So, before you start a committee to find what music will be on your MySpace page, get back to the science. Fire your "message spinners" and stop hiring survey firms. Because the 18- to 25-year-olds will front the bill and provide the expertise in the future, don't think you can convince us of what we want, or worse, shout the same message repeatedly when you know it's what we don't want. "

Current Education Updates

Preflight Interview With NASA Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan

NASA Solicitation: KSC Internship

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Announces New Board Members

Chance for European student to join the NASA 2007 summer academy, ESA

Space Generation Advisory Council Seeks National Points of Contact

AIP FYI #9: Science Education Bills

Gordon Calls on President to Prioritize Science/Math Education, Research, Energy in State of the Union

"Key among those unfulfilled promises: work to insure the U.S. remains a leader in the competitive global marketplace. A year ago, I commended the President's announcement of his American Competitiveness Initiative, but that initiative's misplaced priorities were its failure. The Science and Technology Committee will do our part this Congress to advance the Democrats' Innovation Agenda and I hope the President will work with us to quickly enact legislation that makes a real commitment to bolstering math and science education and invests in basic research."

A new crop of kids: Generation We, CNet

"Researchers say this kind of environment, in which parents aren't afraid of or are clueless about technology, is fostering a new generation of kids who are naturally adept with technology and comfortable with having virtual access to friends, family and the world at large. They have a much more global outlook at a younger age, and experts from the research firm Iconoculture say that unlike the picture of entitled teens and 20-somethings that many pundits have dubbed the Me Generation, today's kids under the age of 11 are part of what Iconoculture dubs "Generation We."

Reader note: "Perhaps NASA PAO should consult the annually published Beloit College Mindset List. I have always found this to be an interesting read in terms of thinking about how to connect with the younger generation. Especially now that I have my own teenager who thinks I'm the world's nerdiest."

Editor's note: An excerpt: "A rite of autumn is under way with the arrival of first-year students at thousands of colleges and universities for registration. Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988. They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the internet as they learned to read."

Where Spirits & Rockets Soar, Homer Hickam, Parade magazine

"The club [Birmingham Rocket Boys], which welcomes the young and old, is under the auspices of the National Association of Rocketry, a group dedicated to teaching the science under safe conditions. Two real rocket scientists from NASA's Marshall Space Flight CenterVince Huegele and Chuck Piercevolunteer their time."

Student teams tap Rocket City expertise, Huntsville Times

"Officials at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Huntsville, the contractor for the space shuttle main engines, the Ares I upper-stage engine and the Ares V core-stage engines, decided that students from the Rocket City should be among the nation's student rocketry elite. So the company teamed up with the local rocketry group to help make sure that happens."

Future Workforce Must Be Cultivated Now to Maintain U.S. Aerospace Leadership, AIAA

"I don't think that we need to adapt our educational strategies to the short attention span of today's students," stated Dr. Porter. "Rather, I think that we need to teach them discipline and perseverance. We need to coach them not to expect instant gratification, but to recover from failure and keep going - a quality shared by productive aerospace engineers."

Editor's note: As is the case with every generation, today's young people are different than the one the generation they follow. That's just the way it is. The current generation grew up in a world totally different than the one you grew up in, Lisa. Ignoring the way that they - and their world works - is simply foolish, to say the least. Why not make them use slide rules and write equations on a chalkboard, eh Lisa? After all, this system worked for Werner von Braun and his team, right?

Did it ever occur to you that this perceived "short attention span" may have to do with the speed at which the younger generation generates - and receives - information? If you don't adapt your message to meet their "short attention spans", Lisa, they simply will not get your message.

Lisa Porter's naivete and total ignorance when it comes to modern education - and those who currently seek to be educated - serves as a perfect illustration of just how out of touch NASA's senior leadership is with regard to the generation that represents NASA's future. The future will be different than the present and these young people will decide how things work, not Lisa Porter. Indeed, they have already made that decision.

Reader note: "Other people have had similar encounters with Lisa Porter. Some communications people made a presentation to Lisa Porter in front of an industry group of 25. At the end of presentation she said "I knew all that." Some of the people in the room remarked that they had been in the business for 25 years and didn't know the information presented. Her next statement floored everyone in the room, "Why would I talk to the American people? They are the people that watch Survivor; I am not interested in what they think or want."

Comments? Send them to nasawatch@reston.com Your comments thus far:

Talking With An Astronaut

A Student Astronaut talks with a Space Station astronaut, Planetary Society

"Former Student Astronaut Vignan Pattamatta just had the opportunity to join a live conversation with astronauts aboard the International Space Station, specifically Sunita Williams, who is the second Indian-American woman to go to space."

Space Generation Advisory Council Survey: Key Events in the Next 50 Years of Space

Editor's note: The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) is organizing a survey to find out what visions for the next 50 years of space are shared by the world's youth: "The input sought at this time are key events and timing that are thought to be important for space activities over the next 50 years. We hope to capture the input in a publication tentatively titled: "Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Next Generation's 50-Year Vision for Space"

How I am becoming an astronaut, by Damaris Sarria

"I started this blog to document the actions I am taking in trying to become an astronaut.

It's my ultimate goal, my dream.

Every week or so I post a new update to recap the week or add interesting pictures.

I hope you enjoy the site and remember to follow your dreams no matter what others may think of them."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from January 2007.

Education: December 2006 is the previous archive.

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