Moonwalk, U.S. Educational progress, Robots

Here is a little 23-minute movie, Sputnik, the race to the moon, robots and radios, chemistry, and erector sets, and how to make teachers of the future.

Just in time to mark the anniversary of the first man on the moon!



Ed –

D-mn good message!

– RW, BEE’83, PhDEE’90, Georgia Tech

Just finished watching it all the way through. Great video and great message! The first 8 minutes was a real blast from the past! I’m curious, what software did you use to produce the video?

I’m curious what these numbers would look like for California. Here, we call it “the broken pipeline.” I’ve quickly come to realize how few people there are like me in education, and there’s a lot of reasons why. And no one is doing anything to address the problem. There is a real disconnect between what education is teaching and what industry needs.

You make some interesting points about “informal education” and it makes a lot of sense. A lot of the best things you can learn are not those that you were told to, but those that you went and learned for yourself because you wanted to. This is where I struggle a bit. FIRST is full of kids who WANT to do it, and they want it bad enough to show up after school, on nights, weekends, and holidays. But FIRST and similar activities make up only a very small fraction of the student population. The general student population largely isn’t involved in this “informal education” of any sort. They expect to just show up and absorb everything they will need, without having to actively go out and seek or acquire anything for themselves. What do we do with this bunch? It’s the old lead the horse to water thing. For years, we’ve opened the door for these students. Now, the trend in education is not only to open the door, but to shove them through it, in a sense that almost says “You will learn darnit, whether you want to or not!”

I think part of good learning comes from having to wantit. And that’s something that starts at home. :slight_smile:

We’ve been doing education for so long, and so many people have researched it, that you’d think we’d have it figured out by now. But nope. It’s filled with complex issues, and these days it seems the new ideas come so frequently there’s hardly a chance to test them before the next one comes along.

Anyhow, this video does a nice job of portraying just how dismal the future of our country is unless something drastically changes. Outside of FIRST and similar organizations, we’re building a generation of people who don’t know how to do anything useful.

Here is a data table you can download and look at. BS/BA degrees are in column ‘G’, California starts at row 289.

The software was Microsoft Powerpoint and Adobe Premiere.

I setup the whole show in Powerpoint. Give the presentation with PP in record mode, then save as a mp4. I also export all the slides as jpegs.

I have a second voice recorder running so that I can replace the PP audio track with the voice recorder track.

I use Adobe Audition to edit, clean up, and normalize the levels in the voice over.

Then drag the jpegs and the new audio track into Premiere Pro and line it all up.

I pull the Powerpoint mp4 into Premiere pro and grab the morph / transitions that I want, otherwise just use the jpegs.

Powerpoint provides still jpegs and the mp4 transitions.

Separate voice recorder provides the audio, which was also recorded during the powerpoint presentation. I remove the powerpoint audio from the project in post-production.

Then I put down the music bed. We have acquired a small library of licensed music.

That’s about it. It takes some time and practice, but easier than using CAD software I think.

As I record it, I can say each scene multiple time, cough hacks whatever.

After recording, the first thing I always do is the voice over track first. I start at the end and work backward because usually, my last take per scene is what I want.

It is amazing how after seeing audio, how you can recognize things, like my cough.

Basically, powerpoint, a decent audio editor and a decent video editor. Actually, you could use the video editor to do the audio track first.


Wantit, as you say, comes from home more often than not. Most of the time, we are only able to want what we can see, and we mostly see our own families. But not always.

Students see you. I’d be willing to bet that a few of them have learned to wantit that way.

My takeaway from Ed’s message is that we have to start building more teachers like you.

Something I have discovered in my research is how frequently, everyone, jumps to pedagogy, and a hundred other things to do in education, not realizing that the teacher production ecosystem does not know their “shapes and colors”.

In other words, no one noticed the fundamental production issues in teacher development, because everyone is looking at downstream ideas. The downstream ideas are not useful if we don’t have the fundamentals of a teacher pipeline in place.

I have had the same problem with students at robot kickoff. The run back to the shop and jump straight into CAD. Now I make them put away the computers, get pencils and paper, THINK, TALK, and SKETCH. Let’s get to the fundamental root issues, and go from there.

Just a couple of days ago the WSJ had an article about the dying art of hand sketches. Personally, I would like to do a lot more of that early in the season, and in class.

Well done!

And…I think I recognize this room…it’s a long ways from Georgia :slight_smile:

Good thing FIRST is working to help uplift other STEM organizations, amiright? :rolleyes:

Here is an updated version of the video.

It has been shortened from the original 23 minutes to only 11 minutes.

It gets to the point in a hurry:

The original long-run version is here:

I suspect the short one may work with the adults and politicians, short attention span.

Maybe the longer version for the students???

Great message!

However, I think you are missing the mark. The reason colleges are not offering the degrees you mentioned is because there is not a real need for them. **Hold on, hear me out. **

Here in Mississippi, a new teacher is going to make about $30K a year. Anyone with the skill to get the technical degree mentioned in the video will be able to get an Industrial Technology or similar degree and start working at a significantly higher wage than the new teacher and work less hours. That new teacher is going to have to work 60+ hours a week just to keep up (teachers do not get overtime). Also, most teachers do not get 3 months off for summer either.

If we want new quality teachers, we have to pay them a good wage. If you want those FIRST students to consider becoming a STEM teacher, you need to pay STEM teachers close to what you pay for the same skills in industry.

It does not matter how good a STEM teacher program a college has, if the graduate is not going to be compensated at a rate comparable to other STEM jobs the vast majority of students will pick the higher paying option.

I don’t disagree. I hear your message all the time. The purpose of this particular video is to ‘pop some political bubbles’, which it certainly has done. The video instigates conversations and meetings with decision makers.

The systemic failure to produce the teachers is really caused by a list of strong factors, teacher pay being a significant factor, but not the only factor.

To get to a robust solution, the ‘lego diagram’ in the video hints at it.

  1. pay
  2. culture, inside and outside the school
  3. retirement
  4. in-service professional development
  5. pre-service professional development
  6. messaging and recruitment of new teachers

and so on. The problem has to be addressed as an ecosystem, not as a single item.

There is a rat’s nest of problems in the way, even if you fix pay. A Gordian knot.

There have been attempts by the Federal government to solve this by solving all these problems at once. I am working with people to take prior efforts and clean up the policy architecture and see if we can’t get this cleaned up and implemented in the near future, at the State level. Stay tuned.

I am not disagreeing with you, but the problem has a lot more threads and complexities than most people know.

Thank you for your feedback,

Ed !!

Ed, You have a done a great job here and I wish you the best of luck!

As a teacher, I know I could be making more money working in the private sector… I *MAY *have even considered going back to school to switch careers a few years ago, before ultimately switching to a higher paying, and closer to home, school district. While that has helped me on a personal level, the school, and district, are not much different in the way they operate, which means like a poorly managed business.

I’m working on my MS in Science Education right now, and am already toying with thesis topics. Integrating more engineering-type assignments (and projects into the classroom to boost learning and possibly increase involvement in the after school robotics) is a big interest of mine.

At California State University Long Beach (my undergrad, credential, and now MS school) there is a program called PhysTEC that tries to make high school teaching more attracting to BS majors, not just BA majors. It is a small step, but having physics majors mingling with physics teachers to work on demos and projects is very powerful. I think more departments should run events like this to let the college students see that working in HS can be fun.

What was the source for 21st century workforce breakdown at time stamp 9:09? It showed 33% 4 year degree, 57% sub-4 year, and 10% unskilled. Was that all industries or STEM industries?


Here is a short answer, a more complete answer I’ll provide later. The short answer is all jobs.

Due to shifts in the nature of the workplace, jobs that required no education beyond high school are disappearing and being replaced by jobs that require education beyond high school, but not a four-year college degree. And in many instances, require significant STEM training.

Kevin Fleming has a great video on this issue:

Several researchers have come to this conclusion that is closely in-line with the data I cited, including the Harvard GSE Pathways to Prosperity report.

In the near future, I will post more information on this issue, and how the teacher development model I am proposing, aligns with the clusters and pathways of classes that need to be taught, in order to meet the college and non-college post-secondary training that a student needs.

That was a mouthful, I’ll simplify later.


P.S. - What is a STEM job, or STEM degree depends on who you ask? For example, I can show you plenty of instances in research, where the STEM workforce production is assessed by measuring only the number of Ph.D. STEM degrees issued. Not M.S., not B.S., and not another measure. Let’s not blow up the thread on this note.

Not to blow up the thread, but … that “metric” is trickle-down voodoo.

where’s the like button !! don’t even get me started on how ridiculous that metric is.