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Engineering Conspiracy?

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by D'Snowth, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I hate to go all conspiracy theorist again, but I'm really curious about all of this engineering hype that is being fed to kids as of late...

    I mean, when Sesame Workshop announced that one of the core educational goals for Season 42 was going to be engineering, people were raising their eyebrows and scratching their heads at that... were kids really ready to be taught engineering? ARE kids ready to be taught engineering? I even remember one of those late night entertainment news shows asking Carol-Lynn Parente about that, and she said that kids are, indeed, ready to learn about engineering.

    I suppose that's all well and good, we know Sesame Workshop puts a lot of research into the cirriculum for the show, and if the research showed kids were ready for engineering, then they're ready for engineering... then here recently, a new YouTube video with Bill Nye the Science Guy was posted that left me really confused: he went on and on about how "wrong" it is for parents to NOT teach their children about evolution, because apparently, evolution is responsible for engineering, and if parents don't teach their children about evolution, then they won't develop an interest in engineering, and if they don't have an interest in engineering, then apparently the future of mankind will be in trouble, because apparently there's a big need for engineers for right now, but not enough interest in the field.

    So is that what all of this is about? A need for engineers, so people have decided to try and get kids interested in it so they'll want to be engineers when they grow up?
  2. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I question the logic of attracting toddlers to the advanced sciences. Space travel is a shadow of its former hopes and dreams. I really only see infrastructure development as something that should be mandatory but is always underfunded (but smaller government is better, of course). The fact is, you need to be attracting the middle and high-school students. I'm not saying they'll be prepared for it in the state of current education, but you could at least get them interested. Internships and apprenticeships need to make a comeback.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The problem is, the younger the kids are, the more likely they'll be able to really absorb what it is they learn, and will keep with them as they get older... I was really displeased with once I graduated from school, suddenly they started teaching second languages to elementary school kids, which they used to only do for high schoolers: that's really hurt me in the long run, I had two years of Spanish in "high school", but I barely even understand the language, and I was only able to memorize a few of your more basic words, nouns, phrases, sentences, questions, etc.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I agree completely. It's bad enough Sesame Street's target demo is 3 year olds and they just came from the quote unquote "Dumbed down" era. Now they're teaching WAY too much in topics way too sophisticated for minds that young to follow. If Sesame Street were still a 4-6 year old program like it started, there shouldn't be such a problem.

    Sesame Street's basic curriculum has always been basic math and reading skills with some social subjects, and sometimes they pepper very basic things about science and health and like that. But now they feel the need to have initiatives, and they're pushing the more fundamental portions of early learning to the wayside for more complex ideas that work better in shows specifically designed for and specializing in a specific subject.
  5. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Well, apparently, the reason behind STEM is because America is behind in math and science. I don't mind it, unless they're all the same story. There's a video of kids learning what a pulley is from a SG 2.0 bit, so I guess it's working.
  6. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I think Sesame is supporting the arts and sciences. That's where education should be. For some reason we're cranking out more attorneys and American Idol contestants than thinkers and innovators.

    I appreciate Bill Nye's work, but his tactics are too heavy-handed toward the very people he's been trying to create a dialog. Creationism is a tradition of spirituality and faith. Evolution is a science of practicality and fact. They need not be at odds.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The one thing I must question... how come there aren't more science programs on PBS? Curious George has that sort of STEM focus to it, but they specialize in it, so it isn't quite as awkward or forced. But there really isn't anything for older kids... Maybe Ruff Ruffman. Seems older kids should have more of a STEM focus in their programming. At least that's what Discovery Channel did (and what CN did when they basically stole their 2004 line up).

    I have to say, the STEM isn't as bothersome as the natural sciences based curriculum. If I saw one more episode that's a guessing game about how animals were different from each other.... I mean, that episode where Bert looked for the pigeon turned into YET another Elmo episode was the last straw.

    I don't want to go into a deep discussion about it, but when it comes to Creationism, I see why science minded people are up in arms about it. Every religion has a creation story, even Native American beliefs have them. But it is a hold over from when humans were trying to find answers to why they were there that some people take a little too seriously. There are a LOT of religious people who believe in evolution. It doesn't weaken their faith in the slightest.

    That's the thing about the human experience. We SHOULD be constantly out there finding out answers. Some we may never find, and that's just the way it is.
    heralde and jvcarroll like this.
  8. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    Exploration can strengthen faith. It's a shame there's a culture bent on denying access to that.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's a culture that's been around for centuries. I really think there's room for science in faith. But we need more science education anyway, and there's somewhat of a lack of it for older audiences. Bill Nye needs to have another show.
    SSLFan and jvcarroll like this.
  10. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Too bad Sid the Science Kid's pretty much over.

    As an older viewer, I'd love if the Powers that Brodcast Stuff (PBS) could maybe bring back The Edison Twins with their Beaker-looking lab guy animation explanations at the end of each episode.
    *Waits to see who else posts they remember that classic Disney Channel show.
    jvcarroll likes this.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Or maybe even a new version of Beakman's World.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    George and Sid are both for younger kids anyway. They have some older science based shows that run sometimes on the weekends if you have digital PBS stations, but nothing that's really a Bill Nye or Beakman levels of engaging.

    I don'[t understand why there's so many nature shows they produce for kids (and I don't see any of them actually watching any of them that aren't produced by the Kratt Brothers), but there's less than nothing in terms of kid's science stuff. I'd rather they rerun Beakman than embarrassing crap like Pets.TV to get the FCC TV/EI regulations.
  13. DTF

    DTF Member

    Well engineering is a person building things and figuring out how. (Bill Nye doesn't make any sense to me comparing it to evolution since evolution is about natural selection - to me engineering *is* creation - but that's just my belief. If you wanted to argue microevolution is also engineering - i.e.: creating a new dog breed by mixing labradors and poodles - I would agree, but creationists I know still believe in microevolution as in my example, just not macro).

    But, let's leave aside the debate over that, and look at this the way a kid would. As noted, catering to the original, 4-6YO demographic, it makes sense. However, one of the things many 2-3YOs love to do is bild things. The big question is, do they know *how* they are building? Indeed, do 2-3YOs know that they *are* building thigns?

    Engineering, to me, is creation, as I stated. This means that if they're going to focus on engineering, they might (bad pun alert!) be able to get away with the very building blocks of it. But, that would be things like, say, putting things on top of each other. Gravity could be used to show that, "If you put that block too far over the edge of the block under it it will fall over." Indeed, that in itself could be a very interesting idea. "Watch how you care that bundle...will thigns fall out of it?" (I wonder if, in the upcoming street scene where Baby Bear gets ice cream on his new white shirt, that is mentioned. An ice cream cone is a very unwieldy instrument for carrying somethign that melts. :)

    I heard of a 3YO in church once who did a little experimenting that could be called engineering, in fact, which could be used on Sesame Street. She was coloring during the worship service. She tried to put her crayon on the ground for a moment while she used nother - it began rolling down the aisle. She picked it up and turned it a little ways - it still rolle. She kept this up until she laid the crayon almost parallel with the aisle and it didn't move.

    Yes, she was doing more problem solving than building, but part of building is problem solving. The people who repair our infrastructure when we need it (or just who repair Midwestern and Northeastern potholes in the springtime) will be starting with these simple concepts like figuring out when something will roll and when it won't, when somethign will topple under certain conditions and when it won't, that sort of thing.

    Sesame Workshop can do things like this and I think help our children learn, but only on the level of thigns that they do - put a block on top of another, try to keep a crayon from rolling, etc.. They might be able to move from that to other things - they might even be able to move to things like why a baseball bounces differently from a football (though that's more for older kids). However, I think the problem witht he engineering thign is not that they are doing it but that they are not realizing that a 2-3YO needs to grasp certain concepts before they can grasp other concepts.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's my main gripe. Unless SW is desperate to bring the age demographic back up to 3-6 year olds (and they should be), little kids can't grasp complex concepts that they want to get into the curriculum. Simple things like that might just work for the oldest group, the 3 year olds... but 2 year olds and under don't really get anything out of watching television, not even the basic letter and number lessons.

    Of course, I NEVER liked how Sesame Street has to be a "baby" show, and I don;t like how it's for earlier toddlers. Parents parked toddlers down since the show's beginning, and there wasn't any problems there. But then the 90's came, and everything shifted because of Barney and (worse) Teletubbies, and it turned into a pre-pre-preschool show that panders to the youngest of the young. I blame Elmo's World for that.
    heralde likes this.
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I really blame parents for not thinking very deeply when it comes to their kids and Television. Something looks bright and colorful and they're sold on it being quality and harmless.

    I mean I can understand there's more important things to think about, like supporting the child financially and making sure they eat and all. But then I think they shouldn't be too surprised when their children are teenagers with zero interest in anything outside their little teeny bopper bubble.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The thing is, parents always put their littlest kids in front of Sesame Street, but the key demo was for slightly older kids back then. I kinda blame Barney and especially Teletubbies, the latter they encouraged babies to watch. There's even an obscure cable network devoted to babies, even though they barely understand their surroundings in the real world.

    I think it's more of a cultural shift, as kids go to preschool more often now. Sesame Street was made for inner city kids who couldn't afford preschool. I don't see why it can't be supplementary, but I guess that's the other part of the culture... the pressure to grow up really fast. I guess the other preschoolers are saying "that's for babies," giving peer pressure to sway them away from Sesame Street and watch the TV y7 cartoons they're kinda too young for... and when they reach that age, they can only like TV y7 cartoons until they're 9, and then they have peer pressure to watch cartoons for adults... it's a whole mess.

    I just hope SW gets the demo they deserve back, the 3-6 crowd. The engineering focus won't be lost on 4 and 5 year olds as much as it is on 2 year olds.
  17. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    My Spanish, despite 4 semesters of it, basically downgraded back to SST levels. I don't think it's a problem of age (though studies do note that there are windows for language pretty early on). I think a lot of the reason I forgot most of it is:
    A: I've always been better at grammar than vocabulary and
    B: No one I knew spoke Spanish.
    It feels forced to learn a new language without needing to say it in casual conversation. Maybe if school had had "this language only" kind of weeks or something it would stick more.
    This is why I think SST needs to leave PBS and go do webisodes. You don't have to try to cram everyone in that way. Have one page for toddlers, one for schoolkids, one for teens, etc. It's not like kids or teens won't find clips that amuse them and make them go viral. Youtube is filled with SST, and not just modern stuff. This desire to spread SST clips is totally exploitable.
    Heck, I'd pay just to watch Ask Mr. Lizard. Sure it's dumb, but dangit, I wanna know if they'll find another Timmy, LOL. :D
    The Count likes this.
  18. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    You mean Timmy the Turtle? No, sorry, that's Tooter.

    Tooter Turtle: Mr. Lizaaaaard! ! !
    Mr. Lizard the Wizard: Drizzle drazzle druzzle drome, time for this one to come home.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I agree but don't agree at the same time. SW needs more of a presence online, and I think they've managed to just get it so far, but I don't think it's there yet. I don't think it needs to completely abandon its PBS show for online content, when they can have both. I really wish Sesame Workshop would keep an internet library of everything they did, rather than just Sesame Street... like 321 contact, Square One Math, and both Electric Company shows. It just isn't quite up to there yet, maybe in a couple years from now.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The problem with going the online route is that surprisingly, not everybody out there has internet access, so they would only be guaranteed a limited audience at best... with PBS on the other hand, almost everybody has PBS, since it's basic television.


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