Can one of the roots of the education being in decline be in too technical materials?

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posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 04:58 PM
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Personally I am currently doing my 2nd and 3rd degree at university (Engineering Masters before, currently doing Bachelors in two separate fields, economics and psychology) at the same time). Although, I have never had much problems with any subject, there is one thing in particular, I have been truly annoyed and which I believe might be one of the causes behind the unpopularity of scientifical fields is the technicality of the materials.

Let us be honest, the kids nowadays can not be compared to the kids 20 or 30 years ago. The world has changed too much. Nowadays the kids grow up while living in computers. They have infinite number of different "interesting" activities in the computer, every piece of information is only clicks away, having a conversation with a friend is only clicks away. The world has changed a lot. That is one of the main reasons behind the increasing number of ADHD kids, who have basically no attention span. When thinking about it, it would be hard even for me to pay attention to anything, while there is so much more interesting stuff going on, even as an adult. Imagine a situation, when your favourite team is playing/season finale of your favourite tv show/in other words, something extremely interesting fo you, although you have to sit still and pay attention to some less interesting person talking or even worse having to study from rather dull materials. Would it be so easy?

Personally I find science interesting during my studies I have found all my fields extremely interesting, although the way they are often presented basically kills off the interest for most of the students. The system is fact based on facts and unfortunately the textbooks are similar. They are usually not designed to create interest or to even explain things.90% of the textbooks give you the information, without explaining anything. I have seen textbooks, which have no words (Calculus I and II). They had not a single word, only numbers. Of course, I know it is an efficient way to give out information. Although it is not a good way for studying. Currently Wikipedia, is extremely good way for reminding me some older theories or formulas, I have forgotten, although for learning something new, I believe just looking at formulas without any explanation is not an efficient way. For me, and for many others I know, Khan Academy, which is not formal, gave a much better understanding and overally better view of the concept, than any textbook ever did. That is something to think about.

To be honest, the only thing that matters in any field, is the understanding of it. To be good at anything you must understand theory and be good at applying it (practice). Yet the whole system is designed for facts. In exams people are required to know all kinds of different formulas, proofs, definitions by heart, without understanding any of them. In many researches and homeworks, correct form is evaluated more than correct answer. I personally have had a situation, where I got an F, despite having correct answer calculated correctly. Everything was well, expect the form. Yet the other guy with perfect form and incorrect answer got a B. For me it was truly uninspiring. Who cares how the engineer did the graphs when calculating how much force can some item tolerate, the only thing that matters is the fact that he got the answer right. For most people I know, calculating the answer takes around 1-2 hours, correct formation of the papers takes around 4-6 hours. Total 5-8 hours for a homework. Yet instead of doing the formation, people could get much more practice when doing more exercises.

Most textbooks are designed to give you the facts. If you bother you create the understanding yourself, although textbook itself has not much examples and explanations.

I believe the overall belief many people have is that science is all about different formulas and numbers without not too much practical value. Yet in reality it is the opposite, but most schools and textbooks do not put much value to the practical value of it.

Most people do a decision about anything fast. When opening a textbooks, when it is not visually attracting it kills the interest. When on does not understand something from the textbook and there is no explanation, it kills the interest.

I am currently studying psychology. Human mind has always fascinated me, although the way how it is presented in my university is making it the most dull subject of all.

The same is with sciences. From early on, people are shown the duller side of it in a dull way, And then we can not understand why people do not want to go to learn engineering or different sciences...

We can create an analog with laws. These are important to know and seem interesting, yet when most people open the book to read the laws, the overall technicality of it, kills most of the interest, and at the end,people go and see a lawyer...

I believe one of the things the educational system needs, is "selling the ideas". When a teacher has the obligation to make things interesting for her students and the textbooks are designed to create interest and explain things, it would truly create a much stronger education. Currently the education system works the opposite way. However boring something seems, the student has an obligation to pass it. The overall requirement technicality and formality simply kills the interest.That creates a cycle where at the end the student does just enough to pass without getting any knowledge or understanding the area.Later on they probably would not choose such field for studies of university, as the field does not seem interesting. And then the government and companies tell about the scarcity of good engineers and scientists...

edit on 14-3-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 05:08 PM
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One thing you said just stops me cold.


Who cares how the engineer did the graphs when calculating how much force can some item tolerate, the only thing that matters is the fact that he got the answer right. For most people I know, calculating the answer takes around 1-2 hours, correct formation of the papers takes around 4-6 hours. Total 5-8 hours for a homework. Yet instead of doing the formation, people could get much more practice when doing more exercises.


Actually, if you're building something I may spend more than a few minutes in or on (You said engineer?) then I'd hope the proper form was followed to the last detail for forensic examination and understanding later, how each specific thing was done. (When it falls down or apart and kills people, I mean) ...just one example.

I'm far lower in the college/university path than you but in some ways, certainly suffer the same things for form over function. I'm looking at Political Science all the way up, most likely....so why do I need full college level algebra? Well... I'm coming to see it's teaching a thought process more than something I'll use in any form I'm learning it.

Just my two cents.... What kind of engineer again?



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 05:34 PM
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Robotics engineer (mix of mechanical, electrical, automatics, IT).

About the form. I agree with you in many ways. From personal experience. I use correct graphs and technical drawings when making my calculations. The correct formation although requires me to redraw absolutely everything. I chose doing more exercises when I was studying. So far it has helped me much more than others. We were no allowed to use computers for graphs, most students on first courses are not allowed. That created the drawing to be extremely time-consuming, although in practice it did not give much extra value, except higher grade.

I have never said that certain subjects are not valuable or are pointless. Calculus and algebra are built purely on creating more analytical thinking. Although the thinking requires first understanding the field. 80% of people I see, just cram up the proofs/definitions and write them down in examinations or simply crib. Maybe 1 in 5 or even less trult understands these. They just get by somehow.



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by Cabin
I have seen textbooks, which have no words (Calculus I and II). They had not a single word, only numbers. Of course, I know it is an efficient way to give out information. Although it is not a good way for studying.


Out of curiosity what was the names of the text books? I've just never seen a calc book without a single word before, and I'm and engineer also so I'm really interested to see how they did it.



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by polarwarrior
 

Honestly do not remember the one. It was not an official one. The lecturer had uploaded his own made textbook online, which everyone were require to use.

He had mathemathical symbols for words, for example ∀ meant for every. ∃ meant exists and so on. You can imagine trying to understand text as a first year when it looks like this

I still remember the definition for limit.

b=lim , ∀ ε>0 ∃ N, n>N => | Yn - b | < ε

b is limit if for every epsilon larger than 0 exists an index of the sequence N so that when n is larger than the N then the nth member in the sequence is in the area of b (b-ε < yn< b+ε) .

It took quite a while to get better understanding of the area due to the "decoding" process


Most people could not catch the concept by the end. They just cribbed at the exam and barely passed. I believe similar concept is not a good way to study, especially individually.
edit on 14-3-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 04:57 PM
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Personally I find science interesting during my studies I have found all my fields extremely interesting, although the way they are often presented basically kills off the interest for most of the students


Not really, the technical information has a purpose and that's to keep things... technical. That material is only going to be read by those that in that field, mostly. So it's okay if you develop your own slang. It's much easier to having a short phrase or formula written out in a cheat sheet (which everyone does) than spend 5-10 minutes explaining the same process again and again everytime you mention it.



In exams people are required to know all kinds of different formulas, proofs, definitions by heart, without understanding any of them. In many researches and homeworks, correct form is evaluated more than correct answer. I personally have had a situation, where I got an F, despite having correct answer calculated correctly. Everything was well, expect the form. Yet the other guy with perfect form and incorrect answer got a B. For me it was truly uninspiring. Who cares how the engineer did the graphs when calculating how much force can some item tolerate, the only thing that matters is the fact that he got the answer right. For most people I know, calculating the answer takes around 1-2 hours, correct formation of the papers takes around 4-6 hours. Total 5-8 hours for a homework. Yet instead of doing the formation, people could get much more practice when doing more exercises.


Well i'm guessing that the assignment was also based on form as well as the answer. You get that alot
. They getcha with that, i know. But it's to help because it allows you to see if you missed something if you get it wrong and trust me, we don't get it right all the time. Nowadays, the sciences are about repeatable conclusions. Back in the day, not so. That's why we had those trailblazers, nothing was confined to the good ol' "my way or the highway". The form and function your being taught is so other people can follow your work to expand upon it or look it over just in-case something goes boom. It's both a bad and good thing, a double-edged sword.


Most textbooks are designed to give you the facts. If you bother you create the understanding yourself, although textbook itself has not much examples and explanations.


IMO, i think all math text books should be burned. But you have to overlook my bias ever since i took that statistics class. If it wasn't for my math teacher going over the material himself and helping me, i would have walked out with alower grade. How the material is presented makes a huge difference. No hints, no step by step guides... it started to hurt my brain after awhile, heh. The worst part is that it was just an intro course. Yea, that's one career i'm not doing. NEVER go for online stat because you want to goto class in your PJs
. But then again, i'm not all that great at math but i wanted to know the science behind statistics, hence my reason for taking the class.



I believe the overall belief many people have is that science is all about different formulas and numbers without not too much practical value. Yet in reality it is the opposite, but most schools and textbooks do not put much value to the practical value of it.


For the maths, physics (math!
) and chemistry yes but not so for the other sciences. It could be the in house "big words" that turn alot of people off but it's for uniformity. It's so you, me, Han, Ahmed, D'Jesus and Obimku in Africa can work from the same template, have the same results, and advance the same field. They have cat fights within those circles to.



Most people do a decision about anything fast. When opening a textbooks, when it is not visually attracting it kills the interest. When on does not understand something from the textbook and there is no explanation, it kills the interest.


True but we aren't diving into those fields for the "pretty pictures" either.



I am currently studying psychology. Human mind has always fascinated me, although the way how it is presented in my university is making it the most dull subject of all. The same is with sciences. From early on, people are shown the duller side of it in a dull way, And then we can not understand why people do not want to go to learn engineering or different sciences...


It happnes from time to time and it's mostly about teaching styles. Some teachers can put you to sleep soon as your bum hits the seat while others will have your undivided attention the whole time. Some teachers will put the fire in your belly and others will give you dat itis. If you find a good teacher, whore'em out for everything, lol. Suck them dry like a vampire. Good teaches are rare and great ones even rarer.



We can create an analog with laws. These are important to know and seem interesting, yet when most people open the book to read the laws, the overall technicality of it, kills most of the interest, and at the end,people go and see a lawyer...


Oh no. That seperates the real deal from the posers. A block of text is never visually attractive but it carries the most information. Only with scholarly papers and laymens translation (magazines like PopSci) will you find those neat pictures and graphs. I like pictures and graphs myself but if you find something interesting or you want to learn something, you dig on in wall of text or not.





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