Try asking your students to engineer a solution for the kindergarteners down the hall, for the principal, for a character in a story, or for their grandparents. Inviting students to engineer solutions with particular people in mind can tap into their existing knowledge and experiences and spur rich engineering discussions in your class. Human-centered or user-centered engineering requires engineers to consider the constraints and criteria imposed by the people who will be using a product or process. A human-centered engineering activity can be a great way to involve students’ diverse knowledge and perspectives. You may choose to design for a very specific, culturally diverse user group, or draw upon the rich array of perspectives in your classroom to identify how various users may have differing criteria or constraints. Inviting a broader knowledge base than a more traditional STEM-focused design activity, you create an opportunity to engage a more diverse group of students’ interests and talents in pursuit of meaningful solutions. To answer the late Dr. King’s question, engineers strive to make the world a better place for us all.
For a bit more about this topic check out this article highlighting the “need to understand the user as much as possible and to appreciate the diversity and complexity of users.”
This diversity tip was originally shared in the January 20, 2016 Newsletter.
If you have a diversity/inclusion tip or resource you would like to share with the division, please email Morgan Hynes firstname.lastname@example.org.