Integrating Engineering Education and Social Studies

No engineering design would be complete or effective without accounting for its social impacts. On the other hand, many social problems could be mitigated using the methodology of engineering design. Project-based learning provides an active pathway for young people to learn about this interplay between engineering and social sciences, and understand that innovations and changes are needed on both sides to solve complex social problems. However, due to the lack of developmentally appropriate, yet scientifically accurate, design technology, the intricate social outcomes of engineering are rarely manifested in the classroom through authentic design activities set up to tackle realistic socioscientific issues with convincing quantitative results, leading to a paucity of meaningful interaction between engineering and social sciences. At IFI, we are working on filling this gap with technology-enhanced curriculum materials ready for both natural and social science classes.