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Numerous efforts seek to increase awareness, interest, and participation in scientific and technological fields at the precollege level. Studies have shown these students are at a critical age where exposure to engineering and other related fields such as science, mathematics, and technology greatly impact their career goals. A variety of advanced learning technologies have emerged to enhance learning, promote hands-on experiences, and increase interest in engineering. However, creating and sustaining technology-infused learning environments at the precollege level is a challenging task, as many schools have limited resources and expertise. Moreover, while numerous technology solutions are available to support ambitious engineering-learning goals, choosing the right technology to align to program goals and resources may be a daunting task. In this work, we fill the gap between the applicability of educational implements and suitable teaching methods for precollege engineering. We present an overview of available hardware- and software-based technologies, and characterize these technologies based on criteria such as median price, the type of learning activities fostered, and the required users' expertise levels. In addition, we outline how these technologies align with deductive and inductive teaching methods that emphasize direct-instruction, inquiry-, problem-, and project-based methods, as studies have shown these methods are effective for precollege engineering education.
Date of Publication: First Quarter 2012