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Guest: Dr. Mark Bauerlein; Topics: Education in Aerospace, Stem, & more. We discussed today's students and education in the context of the digital age & its impact. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Dr. Mark Bauerlein to the program to discuss education, including education for the aerospace industry, in the context of his best selling book, "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (or, Don't Trust Anyone UNDER 30)." During the first segment of our 89 minute program, Dr. Bauerlein told us how he came to doing the research for his educational study and for writing his best selling book. As an English professor at Emory University, he was in the unique position to see what was happening with students and their education so he decided to research the subject. We spent most of this segment talking about the results of his research, factual assessments to support the conclusions he shared with us, including his descriptions of students from primary school through college. You do not want to miss this discussion as he did a superb job of connecting the dots and showing the relationship with the digital age, the internet, computers and smartphones to our educational problems, declines in math, science, and reading, plus many more challenges facing students and education today.
We talked about student competition, especially from students in other countries, H-B1 visa issues, our declining national standing in reading, math, and science across all students in the U.S. but even more so with minority students. Later, we talked more about these issues and how they have impacted technology, STEM, aerospace, math and more. Mark provided us with the quantitative information to support what he was sharing with us.
One important topic discussed in the first segment included what we can do to turn things around. Mark suggested that it had to be and would be an individual thing plus the role of the family, especially in the younger years for students in the primary and early grades. He offered suggestions on how to do this, including ways to disengage or reduce the role of the digital age on our kids. Among his suggestions, he stressed reading, being exposed to adult conversation, & having exposure to the finer qualities in culture rather than the vulgar components.
In the second segment, we extrapolated to aerospace and related fields. In addition, Dr. Jurist called to talk with our guest about some of his college teaching experiences and student observations that supported what Mark's research said and what he was sharing with us. John and Mark had an interesting conversation so don't miss it.
More was said about ways to reverse some of the problems and overcome many of the challenges that Mark wrote about in his book and discussed on this program. We talked about the need for a broad based education, not just a targeted one in math, science, or engineering. He also explained why this broader based education was essential for the student as well as the nation and our future. I brought up changes in aerospace in recent years to include commercial opportunity, funding options through crowdfunding and angel and VC financing, smallsats, even the development of small launchers, and generally lower barriers to entry which have made the NewSpace and new commercial sectors much more available to many people. Mark talked more about the top 10% of the students engaging in these opportunities but also stressed the need for these students to be leaders as they emerge into their career paths. Mark again explained why the top 10% of students, even those emerging as leaders in aerospace, need this broad based education which is not happening unless the student takes the initiative to seek it out.
Later in the segment, Anthony asked two questions. One focused on the educational value of the planetarium comparing pre-2000 planetarium shows that incorporated mythology, constellations and basic astronomy with the current role of the planetarium as a multi-media type of theater presentation. Our guest offered us very interesting comments pertaining to Anthony's question. You do not want to miss his perspective. Anthony's second question wanted to compare the education and capability of the celestial navigators in WWII (part of the Greatest Generation) with those today depending on and using GPS. Don't miss what Mark had to say in response to this part of Anthony's question.
As our program was about to end, we talked about student loan issues plus our guest suggested that while as a nation we have lots of wealth and wealth creation potential, we have a tremendous amount of debt which is a ticking time bomb and not just for education. He said changes in education and how things are done in politics are needed to take us into the future.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog which is part of the program archives for this show. You can reach our guest through me. I urge you to buy his book (it is available in paperback), especially if you still have school age children, college kids or are concerned about our future.