What is done in the electronics classroom these days?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by hp1729, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    Okay, high school for me was back in the '60's for me. Everybody in class built a five tube radio put up on a flat board with the schematic silk screened on it. It was great for class. What is being done these days? Would it be helpful to have, say, an oscillator, counter, latch and 7-segment display built up in similar fashion with LEDs monitoring all operations?
    A demonstration of a Johnson counter built out of TTL or CMOS gates with LEDs monitoring operations?
    Would such things even be useful any more?
     
  2. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    when I went in the 60's, we had to breadboard up ttl ic's, the actual 7400 series were too expensive to buy then.
    I went to 2 years at 8 hrs a day to wichita technical institute, by son goraduated 10 years ago with 4 hours a day for 18 months. the school now goes heavily on ibm type computers and a little home entertainment. I went through broadcast electronics, industrial electronics and more. I still repair stuff with tubes, transistors, fets, mosfets, igbt's scrs, triacs, and lots more, along with ignatrons and thyratrons. out of 200 electricians, I am the only one left in the facilities electronic repair shop here. I think the emphasis on componants when I went to school really helped more than the emphasys on getting ibm certificates.
     
  3. MrSoftware

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    Oct 29, 2013
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    I was in high school in the late 80's/early 90's. There was no electronics available at all, nothing. There was basic computer programming which I took. Electronics wasn't available as a class until I was into my major in college (computer engineering). I did some things on my own, but nothing available through school. I'm in Florida which might have something to do with this; our schools are horribly underfunded and have been for as long as I can remember. The govt here has basically given up on educating our younger generation. Having gone through public school here myself, having family members who now work in the schools as well as my own kids in school, I can't put into words the sad state of our state's public school system, it's frightening.
     
  4. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    What a different world we grew up in. California here. Farming country Fresno even. I started electronics in classes in the 9th grade. Part of regular school. Not an after school activity. Where did education go wrong? We need electronics more today yet get it less.
    My grandson is part of a robotics program (Las Vegas, NV) but it is an after school activity option.
    Technology is a profound part of our lives these days. Why did we drop these things out of education?
    Other shops? I had wood shop, metal shop, auto shop ... things that could lead to a job. At least it is good to see programming is still taught.
     
  5. Sinus23

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    Sep 7, 2013
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    Like I've mentioned before. What you guys call high school and college overlaps here so when you're 16 years old you can start your path into professional electronics. Before that age it differs school to school if there is an electronics course for the 14-15 year old. Depends on the amount of kids interested I guess.

    My first experience with hands on electronics in school were some simple transistor circuits that we only had to understand roughly since the aim was to teach us to solder and feel victorious when our circuits worked. The first circuit I soldered that had IC's was the famous traffic light circuit using a 555 and a 4017.

    What I might add is that electronics is almost strictly taught in trade schools here until university.

    Edit: Oh and I went back to college in 2011. (which makes it a bit relevant to the topic)

    Edit 2: Before someone gets the wrong picture. We are also taught plenty of theory and principles it's just on the first semester it is almost nothing but DC, Ohm's, and Kirchhoff's law. But the second semester we move into AC, inductors, capacitor, diodes, transistors...You get the picture.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  6. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    I teach post secondary, but we visited our county high school last year to see just what they were doing in that respect.
    We were greeted by the new "Mechatronics" instructor, she was the former math teacher.
    Somehow she became qualified to teach mechatronics by simply having a conveyor/robotic trainer in her classroom.
    From what we saw instruction consisted of plug jumper "A" into port 1 and 2. Plug jumper"B" ....you can see where this is going.
    At the end of the paragraph the paper informs you that you have just successfully wired a 3 phase motor to a manual starter.
    Now when you look around the room, there isn't a 3 phase power source (or inverter) to be found.
    Nida (brand name of electronics trainers) posters on the wall, we use them as well. When I asked where they were ( I really wanted to see how many they had, we have 3 ) I was informed they had 5 in the closet but haven't been opened yet.??
    The whole time this little "interview" was going on she was telling us how the students leave her class with a Level 1100 Siemens certification, whatever that means ..
    When I said you don't use the trainer, you don't use Nida, just what is it you actually do here???
    That's when we were invited to leave...
    So that's the closest thing I've seen in our counties classroom concerning electronics.
    We have a local businessman that is really pushing mechatronics here, and he seems to get a lot of money donated to his cause. It's taught in our sister school next door, and I end up with some of the graduates in my class. Apparently they don't touch anything over 24 volts, do not get into electron theory at all, and graduate looking for places to plug in jumper "A".... I could go on but....
     
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  7. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    When I was in high school (early 80's) we had one electronics course offered by the Industrial Arts department. The two things I really remember from that class is that we had to build an electronic project (didn't have to design it, we were given the schematics) that involved an integrated circuit (almost all were 555-based circuits) and that we had to draw the artwork on a single-sided PCB (manually using a pen based only on the schematic -- so we had to figure out how to route the board) and then we had to make the board. I did a code practice oscillator, which I still have and which still works 35 years later. The other big thing was residential wiring so for the last two or three weeks of the semester we worked in teams of three wiring a handful of typical household circuits, in a small room (stud walls) that we constructed in the classroom, from a subpanel and it had to meet code to get a passing grade.

    That was at the home high school. We also had a vocational school that was a joint effort between the two high schools in the district, call the Career Enrichment Park. There you could focus on a trade and some people graduated from high school as a journeyman electrician. Others graduated as certified welders or licensed beauticians or ready to start at an established level in many other skilled trades. It was a great success and most of the programs paid for themselves. For instance, the auto mechanics and auto body classes did real work on real cars and the owners paid real money (but significantly less than if they went to a "real" garage) that was used to finance the materials, equipment, and upkeep of the shop. It was so successful that the district finally shut it all down.

    As for today, I have no idea about high school. I sure hope that they haven't gone down the tubes like so many electronics courses in colleges have. The growing emphasis is on using simulation for everything. This is usually done in the name of efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness.
     
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  8. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    I had zero electronics in my high school in the 70's. My kids had one optional class where they built things like a Blinky in their time in the 00's. I don't know how much they were taught about how the components work. It seemed to me at the time that it was just a 1 week project out of several. They did 3D printing, wrote a simple game, and probably some other activities. I'll have to ask them for more detail.
     
  9. WBahn

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    That's pretty much what I feared.

    At my college they had a Power Lab that had a 3-phase 480 V substation in the room and they had several large motors (60 hp?) and other items (motor-gen sets and such) that the students would dig into and do a bunch of work on and build back up and then test. I always wanted to take the course but was never able to fit it into my schedule. This was something that you almost never saw, even back then, at the university level. There was exactly one instructor that was allowed to teach that lab because it was a lab where you could literally kill a student in a heartbeat and that instructor had about a decade of experience working in the power industry. That was 20+ years ago. Now the lab has been reduced to a fraction of its size, works with nothing over about 2 hp, and I'm not sure what voltage they work with or whether they do any three phase at all. Most of that was done incrementally and usually in the name of "safety", even though I'm not aware of anyone ever getting injured in that lab.
     
  10. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    I can see the value of that. You just can't breadboard SMD stuff so easily and leaded electronics is almost gone from production. s microprocessors went past one million transistors simulation of circuits is a real necessity.
     
  11. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    In the 40+ years since I went to high school, the only change I see is that they routinely offer calculus. Considering how much technology has advanced in the last few decades, the progress in public schools has been virtually non-existent. It's no wonder why US students now compare so poorly with their peers in other developed countries.

    My Daughter is in a charter high school and will finish high school with an AA degree. Many of her college classmates who have already graduated from high school are taking the same classes she's taking to get her high school diploma. Public schools are not preparing students for the real world and many students end up taking remedial courses in college to learn what they should have learned for "free". I'll admit some students lack the motivation or ability, but the problem is too widespread to give public schools the benefit of the doubt.
     
  12. WBahn

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    Simulation definitely has value and has it's place -- but most schools are going WAY overboard and the students have absolutely no feel for what the simulations are telling them. There are curricula out there in which a student can get a degree in EE without ever touching an actual circuit!
     
  13. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    Wow! Electronics really has taken a dive. Back when man was on his way to the Moon we invested heavily in technology at the high school level. Is it society that has left it behind? There used to be a dozen correspondence courses in electronics. What happened to them?
    Will electronics become secretly held knowledge only passed down with secret handshakes and treated as occult?
    Here in Las Vegas we have half a dozen slot machines in every convenience store, dozens in every grocery store, they are in just about everywhere but churches. The city college has a slot machine program with electronics from basics to microprocessors. Of course the college program pushed all the adult school for slot machines out of business.
     
  14. Sinus23

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    Sep 7, 2013
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    Yes and no. What I've had to simulate so far in the classroom wasn't because of SMD stuff or millions of transistors. It had more to do with the time frame of each class.

    An hour isn't enough to make 20 people actually breadboard a circuit with 3-10 IC's and then make some tests and measurements...

    But thankfully it was a minor factor in my education.
     
  15. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    I can see engineering without touching parts. Are there technician courses available any more?
    I am reminded of the skit on the Big Bang Theory where there is a car full of well educated nerds in a broken down car and nobody has any idea how to fix an engine.
    Maybe education needs to start with hands-on technology then build up to theoretical engineering? Too expensive?
     
  16. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    I sure miss those. We had one in our electronics class too...they were awesome!
    They certainly WOULD be useful~ I think that might make a great little cottage industry.
     
  17. KL7AJ

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    I remember when the first 741 op amps came out...they were about $15....a small fortune for an impoverished high school kid!
     
  18. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    What would be needed to get electronics back in high school? Is it just money? Would we have to be on our way to Mars? Do we need another JFK to push education like he did when we were on our way to the Moon??
    Today "pushing education" means just getting kids able to write a thousand word paper. Far too many even fail to be able to express themselves clearly. The last time I was in South Korea kids on the street expressed themselves in English better than most American kids. And many could do it in three or four languages.
     
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  19. KL7AJ

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    Some high schools here have totally eliminated chemistry labs....I supposed to to liability issues. Perish the thought that a sensitive student may encounter an offensive fragrance.
     
  20. Sinus23

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    Sep 7, 2013
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    Not necessarily. Although we had plenty of unused components to work with we also had to de-solder a bit of parts if they weren't "in stock" sort of speak so for an example if all the 10nF capacitors were gone we had access to 5-10 bins of misc boards and old students projects which we could find plenty.

    Also taught us troubleshooting since the salvaged part could be faulty;)
     
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