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National Science Foundation grant will allow Blinn to incorporate connected devices, 3D printing in its dual credit courses

Program will show K-12 students hands-on applications for STEM and ICT education

October 10, 2016

Blinn College and the Texas A&M University College of Engineering recently were awarded a three-year National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers grant to develop programs making K-12 students aware of the career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT).

Texas A&M will develop plans to incorporate authentic design activities related to building automation into junior high and high school courses, and create summer programs for junior high school students to create connected devices.  Blinn will adapt and introduce new high school dual credit engineering courses to include connected devices and 3D printing. To achieve these goals, Texas A&M was awarded $834,654 and Blinn was awarded $214,710.

“Two of the most exciting and transformational technologies today are connected devices, also known as the internet of things, and 3D printing,” said Max Hibbs, Blinn College Dean of Mathematics, Business, Engineering, & Technology. “As major companies adopt these technologies, the workforce of the future will need to be comfortable working with these connected devices, how new manufacturing processes work, and understanding the role these technologies can play in the modern enterprise.”

To incorporate connected devices and 3D printing in their dual credit offerings, Blinn will establish new courses and modify others, such as Introduction to Engineering and Engineering Graphics. Blinn will introduce its first dual credit courses including these concepts in Fall 2017. The program will begin in Blinn’s dual credit courses offered in partnership with area school districts.

“Connected devices and 3D printing will be a part of everyday business life, especially in manufacturing,” Hibbs said. “By showing students how STEM and ICT education have hands-on applications, we can help them understand how important these curricula are, and the career opportunities they can offer.”

“Our hope is that by providing authentic experiential leaning activities related to the internet of things and 3D printing, students will have a better appreciation for STEM careers and want to continue their education in these areas,” said Michael Johnson, an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M. 

Blinn College’s Dual Credit Program enables high school students to earn credit toward a college degree while satisfying the requirements for high school graduation simultaneously. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/dual_credit