School Students Practice Technology Communication

25/10/2016
Copyright: Peter Winandy

The MINT-EC excellence network of schools and RWTH Aachen hosted a camp that focused on the topic of technical communication.

 

How can new technologies and their applications be communicated to wider audiences? This challenge was addressed by 80 school students from all over Germany who participated in a camp on technical communication at RWTH Aachen University.

The camp was organized by MINT-EC, the national excellence network of schools with a distinct profile in the STEM subjects – mathematics, technology, engineering, and the natural sciences.

During the four-day workshop, the school students were involved in projects from the fields of electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, and materials engineering. First, the pupils participated in an information market on renewable energies, which provided a broad range of material on the political and technological dimensions of the so-called energy transition.

Subsequently, the school students applied their new knowledge by developing a strategy game on the construction of wind farms. In addition, they acted as members of a fictional agency specializing in technical communication. Subsequent to the theoretical sessions, the pupils visited the University’s Center for Wind Power Drives, CWD for short, whose giant test rigs for wind turbine systems are apt to demonstrate a number of technological facets of the energy transition.

The computer science sessions focused on human-computer interaction, and the task of the students was to analyze the demands placed on user interface design and develope possible solutions. In the mechanical engineering workshop, which dealt with visual communication, the participants created a precise user manual on how to construct components for a recirculating aquaculture system to be used for fish-breeding in Tansania. Finally, the main task in the materials science workshop was to introduce innovative materials to a wider audience.

Aside from the academic sessions, the camp offered cultural and sports activities for the participating girls and boys. Moreover, they had the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with the present researchers and instructors.

The MINT-EC Network

MINT-EC is the national network of excellence of secondary schools with a strong profile in the STEM subjects. It was founded in 2000 by a consortium of companies, in close collaboration with regional educational intiatives. The network consists of 247 certified schools with about 270,000 students and 21,000 teachers. It has been under the patronage of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the German Federal States, KMK for short, since 2009.