COMPUTERS, A CHALLENGE FOR SOME KINESTHETIC LEARNERS
It's no secret that a major goal for us with this website and the class we teach is to connect studentsto Career Pathways, as defined by the STEM Career Clusters. Here in Washington State information about Career Clusters and associated Pathways may be found on the website of our Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Of particular interest is how we connect kinesthetic learners and concrete thinkers to these careers. This is important because job opportunities for these students has been shrinking for many years. Systems such as automotive ignitions, hydraulics in aircraft, home heating and air conditioning, metal working, and manufacturing now all have at their centers small computers.
A kinesthetic learner can be given a mechanical part, such as a car distributer, and he or she can figure out how it works just by inspection and some thinking. But a computer cannot be understood this way. It's just a box with wires going to it. What is connected may be visible but what it does is totally opaque.
CONNECTING TO CAREERS
According to the Pathways to Prosperity study and project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education this disconnect of some students from education for traditional job paths is resulting in failures to complete high school and college programs and, ultimately, increases in unemployment of young Americans.
We attempt to teach how to use small computers, rather than teach how they work. The idea is to treat the computer as simply another component in an electronic circuit. Learning to program the computer programming is presented as mastering the set of instructions that to make the computer do what is desired.
At a convention of the Washington State chapter of the Association for Career and Technical Education last week (November 5th and 6th of 2015) we presented how our class works. The PowerPoint slides for this presentation may be found HERE.