Saturday, December 01, 2012

Educational sports

After two decades, Dean Kamen, the mascot of invention, is still touting educational sports is a good article about the motivation behind creating For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST):

In a keynote speech before a thousand chip industry executives, Kamen said he came up with the idea for FIRST out of frustration in 1989. He looked around at American society and was frustrated at how a whole generation of kids were growing up with warped perceptions, shaped by mass media, that made kids obsessed with professional sports athletes and Hollywood stars. And smart kids were branded as socially inept nerds.

“I looked at a culture that seemed to be going astray,” he said. “You can’t find a kid today who can tell you who won the Nobel prize in medicine. We don’t have an education problem. We have a culture problem.”

Kamen liked sports, but as a pastime, not an obsession. America came of age with great inventors like Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers, but, he said, “It didn’t seem like that was the core of the culture anymore.”

Instead of fighting it, Kamen embraced the idea of using competitive sports to get kids to realize that science and engineering could be fun. He shrugged off concerns that it might put too much pressure on kids. He started FIRST, and got the first competition going in 1992.

My father is a FIRST Lego League coach for several teams.  If you have children with an interest in science, or even if they aren't interested, check it out.

No comments: