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How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

(OP)
Here is an interesting article from engineering.com...

How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

The authors feel that students in high school should be exposed to simulation software. It seems to me that high school students would be shown the equivalent of a magic box that knows the answer to the questions they ask. Is this really a good idea?

--
JHG

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

More "data entry designers".

Regards,

Mike

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

But, you read the part about vendor-provided education, right? The magic box doesn't know what the right answer is, and unless the student is sufficient competent, more likely than not, the wrong answer comes out. When you look at the totality of questions asked here about ANSYS, or FEA in general, it's pretty clear that such software is in no way able to be a "magic box." The road to the right answer is riddled with potholes containing the wrong answer.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

I don't know how much software would help at the high school level. As often as I run into people that only understand simulation software as being just a black box, I am skeptical introducing software early will produce better engineers or scientists. In my opinion, you should have a rough idea of what the answer is prior to ever simulating.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Quote:

However, when student software is first made available, there can be some hurdles to ensuring that students are being taught how to use the software correctly and effectively.

The article completely overlooks the more important issue that teaching "simulation" comes at the cost of loss of teaching the fundamental physical principles that the simulation tools use.

"I don't have to understand it because I can simulate it."

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

I lost a very good engineering job to a crew of experienced designers armed with Pro-Engineer software.

I have it on good authority that the reduction in payroll cost was actually, specifically, overtly, used as a selling point to justify purchase of the necessary hardware and leasing of the software.

Now, the software purveyors are taking things a step further by proposing to make even the designers redundant by hiring high school graduates to replace them.

I have nothing remotely printable to say about the practice, or the purveyors.




Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

This sounds like marketing disguised as education. These companies likely want to introduce the idea in the heads of would-be engineers that their widget is the software you need to do simulation so that when said engineers enter the workforce, theirs is the first name that pops into their head for that type of simulation work if the company doesn't already have a preferred tool

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

It's both. Mathworks has been offering student versions for many years, and it's an awesome deal, Matlab, Simulink, and a bunch of toolboxes. The students get an early exposure to a very useful engineering tool, and Mathworks has a user for life

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

And yes...it is marketing disguised as education. Apple did it in the late 80s...as I'm sure MS did too.
Now, my nieces carry a tablet with them instead of books...ya, ya...books are heavy.

At high school level, I don't think any electronics should be allowed in the Math classrooms (Perhaps allowed in advanced math classes where the students have shown some aptitude to get there).

I tutored Freshmen and Sophomores a few years ago, and they couldn't do anything without a calculator....simple addition and subtraction. They just thoughtlessly grabbed for it and punched keys. They never verified if they hit the correct keys...and they had no idea whatsoever if the number the calculator showed was even close. They couldn't even estimate. Hell...I've even seen that at work by the accounting team.

No. Computers, Software, Apps should not be allowed in the classroom until at least college...and maybe not until one gets into Advanced Calculus or Engineering classes.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Students shouldn't be running industrial-strength CAE analyses as part of their education. They should be familiar with contemporary tools that they'll expect to find in the workplace. They should realise what it is that these tools are doing underneath and how it relates to what they've learned in the classroom. They might even dabble with them as part of a project. But they don't need to learn how to use them in any anger, to get familiar with all the nice features added to assist workflow - they have no workflow.

Steve

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

IRStuff,

I would put Mathworkd, Matlab, and Simulink in a different category. Those are math tools which to me are different than simulation packages. There are simulation packages that you can get but if you forced people to write their own tools, I would be all for that. There is no learning lost there.

Octave ,which is open source and free, was written with the attempt to make it as compatible as possible with Matlab. If a high school teacher is looking for math tools, there are plenty out there that are good and free. I use Octave for calcs and had to use it for one of my grad classes. I think I would only pick Matlab over it if there was a specific Matlab package I wanted to use.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

"No. Computers, Software, Apps should not be allowed in the classroom until at least college...and maybe not until one gets into Advanced Calculus or Engineering classes."

No, it's not the tool; it's the people. It's up to the teacher and school district to ensure that's the case. But, people are lazy, and there are teachers who hand out the final exam problems and solutions before the finals. That's not much in the way of teaching.

We no longer teach anything about slide rules, even though there are lots of teaching lessons that can be applied. But, when we (I) was using slide rules, we didn't get any lessons about them in school, either.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

No way should HS students be exposed to this kind of software without careful thought about how they might perceive it.
Comparing to Matlab(ML) is not quite the same concept. As in ML there is must be fundamental understanding and coding involved before anything can happen. I strongly encourage anyone wanting to study engineering or science to pick up ML as early as possible.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

... those linear algebra courses would have been a lot more applied had we had access to Matlab. Similarly, the CFD & FEA theory courses could have spent more time on equations and solution schemes and less on editing and running someone else's FORTRAN programs.

Steve

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

(OP)
SomptingGuy,

I recall taking a linear algebra or FEA course way back, and writing a program to solve matrices on my Commodore 64. It was able to do a 49×49 matrix, and it needed an hour. A kid would have a much better chance today with Matlab or Octave.

--
JHG

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Given the poor Excel skills I've seen in 3rd year engineering students, I'd propose they start with that in HS before moving on.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Everything you can do in Excel can be done in ML 5 times better. poke
(except for pasting pictures and other mundane things like that)

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

For some, simulation software might actually help them understand the topic. It is really up to the teacher and learner what they do with their tools. I don't see this being any worse than a teacher giving step-by-step instructions on how to solve an equation without giving the student any idea what the equation achieves or what the variables represent. "Just plug and chug" as they say.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Once upon a time a reasonably sophisticated multi body dynamics program was available as a 2D version, called Working Model 2D. This was absolutely hilarious for designing your own physics lab type experiments with springs, dampers, rolling balls, friction, pendulums and so on, or indeed building Mousetrap game type mechanisms. By restricting it to 2D they got rid of a lot of the UI complexity that plagues 3D stuff. I think that would have been a worthwhile addition to a senior science class, but other than that I am not a huge fan of computers in the classroom. Autodesk made a roughly similar app, but that seems to have gorn to bit heaven as well.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

That should stimulate those students.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

software's presence in the classroom doesn't guarantee it will carry through to industry if something better comes along. When I came up through school it seemed Lotus 1-2-3, dBase IV, WordPerfect 5 and Harvard Graphics had a lock for productivity software

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

Imagine carrying student loan debt and a number of software license subscriptions as well. Or is the purpose for the student to get a job and tell the company what software to use?

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

(OP)

Quote (truckandbus)


software's presence in the classroom doesn't guarantee it will carry through to industry if something better comes along. When I came up through school it seemed Lotus 1-2-3, dBase IV, WordPerfect 5 and Harvard Graphics had a lock for productivity software

I had a slide rule and a typewriter.

--
JHG

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

You learned cad on a typewriter, too? Stick a drafting lead in that space where the keys strike and roll the platen for vertical lines and slide the carriage for horizontal lines. Circles and diagonals were hard, but adding text was easy.

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

(OP)
BUGGAR,

Try 3D modelling on a typewriter.

For that matter, try touch typing on a manual typewriter. My typing rhythm is gone completely. It's back to two finger technique any time I need to use it.

--
JHG

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

The changes were never so precipitous that one couldn't adapt. We went from secretaries required to know Wang word processing to engineers using Sprint, Wordstar, and WordPerfect, to mostly not even have official "memorandas." It's certainly well know that the earlier children are exposed to learned software, the quicker they can adapt to changes. Students in high schools can have already learned Java, C++, and Python, in addition to having designed logic circuits, simple ALUs, etc., before they graduate; I knew a bare knowledge of Basic when I graduated. They've already done animations and designed apps.

None of this is a bad thing, per se. In order to stand on the shoulders of giants to make progress, some things do have to be taken at face value. If we all were required to re-derive all the basic theorems in math and science, we'd never get to doing anything related to modern engineering until we were middle-aged.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

"If we all were required to re-derive all the basic theorems in math and science"

Well certainly wouldn't say all, but in my high school math and then Engineering at university there was an awful lot of deriving equations etc. and at least at uni not that much application.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: How to Prevent Free Student Simulation Software from Becoming “Shelfware”

"You learned cad on a typewriter, too? Stick a drafting lead in that space where the keys strike and roll the platen for vertical lines and slide the carriage for horizontal lines. Circles and diagonals were hard, but adding text was easy."

I believe the acronym for that would be 'TAD' as opposed to 'CAD'.

Now that I've heard of this I'm a bit saddened that I was born too late to learn about the wonderful world of Typewriter Aided Design.

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