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Chips for Everyone: A Multifaceted Approach in Electrical Engineering Outreach

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2 Author(s)
Jane Magill ; Robert Clark Centre for Technol. Educ., Univ. of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK ; Scott Roy

This paper reports on a multifaceted approach in electrical engineering outreach focused on the area of semiconductor technology. The activities developed can be used in combination for a very wide range of audiences in both age and stage of education, as has been demonstrated with great success. Moreover, the project has developed cross-disciplinary activities designed to engage nonscientiflc audiences and has used entirely nonscientific venues, such as art galleries. The suite of activities, given the umbrella title Chips for Everyone, includes: Chips for Everyone: drop-in activities for fairs, shows, shopping centers; Chips with Relish: interactive workshops for groups of school pupils; Chips with Flair: an arts-science collaboration in music, art, video, and engineering to present a new perspective on semiconductor technology. To achieve this diverse mix of outreach activities, the Chips for Everyone team represents a very broad spectrum of skills, its members being engineering academics, musicians, artists, education academics, public engagement specialists, and student teachers in technology. The development process is quite generic and could be applied in other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. The subject focus of the project is semiconductor technology, a technology that influences the daily lives of everyone and yet is largely invisible. The activities seek to engage, engender interest, and promote informed discussion about this technology and engineering in general. From modest beginnings as a filler during the setting up of another outreach program, Chips for Everyone has developed into a major program reaching over 25 000 young people and families in school workshops, shopping centers, and art exhibitions in Scotland and across the U.K. The development method for the activities is innovative and creative, using the complimentary skills of research academics and students in both electronic engineering and technology initial - teacher education (ITE).

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 1 )