Tom McGlew was telling me a story a few weeks ago.  More on that story as I remind or inform people of who Tom is.  Tom is the project manager of the NSF eSyst project and does a lot of work with Semi High Tech U.   eSyst helps instructors move their electronics program from the components way of teaching (basically, electronics got stuck teaching stuff they taught 30 years ago and didn’t moderize) to teaching a  systems approach.  This is what industry wants.  High Tech U, sponsoed by Semi, is to get high school kids interested in high tech careers. 

I know that electronic programs in the community colleges have been suffering hard times.  Electronics, which doesn’t get lumped in with other high tech careers, is still high tech. It is the foundation for many of the high tech jobs out there.  Helping teachers with recruitment and retention is part of MATEC’s focus (Semiconductors, Automation, Manufacturing, and Electronics… – SAME – as in SAME-TEC conference we sponsored for 14 years, before turning into HI-TEC…).  Anyway, why are students not going into electronics at the community colleges?  And then in talking with Tom, I began to understand. The reason why usually starts in high school…

Tom had been out recruiting for a High Tech U. He came back and told me a funny story of the reasons why this group of students said they couldn’t do high tech.  All from not being smart enough, to they didn’t like technology (even though they had MP3s on, the latest cell-phones, etc.).  From there, and an NPR news article about xtranormal, I created the following conversation… 

Students need to realize that if they apply themselves, they can probably go into any career.  And, that they are, “smart enough.”

Mark Viquesney