Starting with the research question ‘Does engineering outreach work?’ this paper looks at the often ‘sticky’ subject of the validity of engineering outreach in UK High Schools. It examines how Engineering Outreach Activities are conceptualised by external bodies (RAEng., 2016) and critiques the complex range of practical experiential engineering educational interventions offered in school (Neon, 2023, STEM learning, 2023). Drawing upon the findings of, what is, a small single strand of a much larger multi-method, longitudinal analysis of Engineering Education Outreach Activities provided across the West Midlands region of the UK (LBEEP, 2023) ], the paper provides a unique insight and descriptive analysis of engineering outreach in schools. The findings section comprises a comparative analysis of the socio-economic background of schools before looking at the gender breakdown of outreach participants. The various engineering interventions provided are briefly discussed before consideration is given as to how sustainable current engineering outreach activities are. Finally, in questioning whether the UK’s current approach of providing engineering education experiences in the form of what are often idiosyncratic, short term episodic activities, the paper questions the financial, pedagogic and practical wisdom of confining engineering education to ‘outreach’. The conclusion suggests that it’s time for a sea-change in how we, as a society, teach children and young people about engineering and suggests that perhaps it is time to embed the subject into more established areas of study such as maths and science but also in history and social science.
Clark, R., Andrews, J., & Wang, Y. (2023). Time To Rethink Engineering Outreach? European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/3A1N-H873
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.