We've paid attention to pop culture on this site - very effectively I think, in showing kids how to be creative thinkers and how as engineers, they can make the world a better place through creativity and teamwork
Dearborn, Mich. (Vocus) July 1, 2009
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation says Manufacturing is Cool! An awarding winning Web site proves it. The Foundation has accelerated postings of new content in this evolving and very entertaining Web site.
Unlike many education-based sites, each of the items on the Manufacturing is Cool! Web site drills down and expands information on a variety of required engineering disciplines challenging students to become more involved in the basic requirements of engineering programs - math, science, and technology. The SME Education Foundation worked with an independent company - The Secret Room, Inc. in the creation of content, graphic design and video.
The landing page, featuring cartoon-like, colorful graphics, reveals the top of a kid's desk with a jumble of likely-found items each of which is actually its own landing page that drills down its own intriguing hallway of knowledge. Each stop along the way provides fun tutorials, one-on-ones with young people involved in a variety of learning experiences. You Tube videos featuring plant tours and technical information interspersed with kids doing their own rap music orchestrations are featured with a subliminal message being a career in manufacturing engineering can provide a terrific future.
The Web site has received rave reviews from students involved in its development --reflecting the original intent of the SME Education Foundation and its designers -- to generate inspiration and ideas from the audience it serves. Parents and teachers have enjoyed its benefits too.
"We've paid attention to pop culture on this site - very effectively I think, in showing kids how to be creative thinkers and how as engineers, they can make the world a better place through creativity and teamwork," says Khalil S. Taraman, PhD, FSME, PE, president of the SME Education Foundation.
The many items illustrated on the kid's desktop range from a collection of school books, an I-Pod, a stuffed lion mascot, Magic 8-ball, cell phone, sunglasses, a loose bag of popcorn, guitar, to a '55 Chevy with each item emitting a fun sound effect when clicked upon. The design of the page allows it to be easily populated with other technologies and educational resources.
Click on a line of schoolbooks benignly sitting in a row and you can access information on the SME Education Foundation, Cool Colleges, Cash for College, Places to Go, Things to Do, or Videos to Watch. Click The Gateway Academy button and you'll hear cheering kids with information on super summers, i.e. the Foundation's youth programs. The stuffed lion mascot introduces you to Awesome Associates, with bios on inventors, famous engineers and students who have benefited from Foundation scholarships or experienced its technology-based summer camps.
Click on the model car and you'll hear the roar of a '55 Chevy taking you to the real thing. Kids can test-drive everything from trains (learn about locomotives) to planes (Strikeforce jet lifts off) to racing cars (radical race cars on a track), to motorcycles, to tractors (Cool things at Caterpillar), and more. For kids who need encouragement - there is a Magic 8-ball that with a click offers inspirational quotes from more than twenty industry leaders, entertainers, writers and inventors some of whom include Thomas Edison, Colin Powell, and even author, Stephen King who says, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." Each item is designed to inspire, encourage and excite young minds.
The Manufacturing is Cool! Web site is part of the Foundation's larger initiative to address the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers based on the accelerated introduction of emerging technologies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employers will be seeking 17,000 industrial and manufacturing engineers, 14,000 mechanical engineers, 14,000 engineering technicians, and 273,000 metal and plastic production workers every year until 2012. These numbers indicate that young people need to learn more about these highly-skilled jobs and realize how necessary math and science have become for a secure future.
About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $29 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit http://www.smeef.org and award-winning website, Manufacturing is Cool!
SME Education Foundation