Saturday, February 16, 2008

14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century

via Wired Science

18 engineers, technologists and futurists recently compiled a list of the challenges and goals that we face in the 21st century. Committee chair, William J. Perry, states "we chose engineering challenges that we feel can, through creativity and commitment, be realistically met, most of them early in this century." Here's the list:

  • Make solar energy affordable.
  • Provide energy from fusion.
  • Develop carbon sequestration methods.
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle.
  • Provide access to clean water.
  • Restore and improve urban infrastructure.
  • Advance health informatics.
  • Engineer better medicines.
  • Reverse-engineer the brain.
  • Prevent nuclear terror.
  • Secure cyberspace.
  • Enhance virtual reality.
  • Advance personalized learning.
  • Engineer the tools for scientific discovery.

While they are certainly all admirable and important, I noticed one towards the bottom that's up for grabs :)

Here is the page that specifically discusses personalized learning. A must read for all FableVisionaries!

Throughout the educational system, teaching has traditionally followed a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, with a single set of instructions provided identically to everybody in a given class, regardless of differences in aptitude or interest. Similar inflexibility has persisted in adult education programs that ignore differences in age, cultural background, occupation, and level of motivation.

In recent years, a growing appreciation of individual preferences and aptitudes has led toward more “personalized learning,” in which instruction is tailored to a student’s individual needs. Personal learning approaches range from modules that students can master at their own pace to computer programs designed to match the way it presents content with a learner’s personality.

Sound familiar?? For those interested, here's the official website:

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