Food for Thought with National Instruments - "Engaging Your Community: Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators (or How I Will Get Some Kids to Build Me a Hoverboard)"

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
GDC 6.302
Mar 27, 2014 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Abstract: Keeping a student’s attention with traditional educational methods is getting harder and harder to do. If we hope to create an army of programmers and engineers capable of solving the world’s grand challenges (and of creating a real life hoverboard), we need to find new ways to build interest and keep students engaged. Programs like the FIRST Robotics Competition and Waterloo Labs give students a new way to get excited about learning valuable skills and a chance to get some firsthand experience designing, writing code, soldering, and turning a wrench. All of us who are already sold on the importance of technology and engineering skills have a responsibility to share, engage, and mentor the next generation of Innovators.

Speaker Bio:

Hunter Smith, K-12 Engineering Specialist

As a K-12 Engineering Specialist, Hunter Smith works with primary and secondary school educators, curriculum developers and robotic competitions around the world to create authentic hands-on experiments that develop real-world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

In addition to his primary job responsibilities, Hunter serves as the program director for NI’s extreme tinkering group, Waterloo Labs. The goal of Waterloo Labs is to show students fun ways to use engineering and math through innovative projects. Their videos like Driving a Real Car with an iPhone and a cRIO, Eye Controlled Nintendo System, and Real Life Mario Kart have been featured by popular press around the world and earned over 2.3 million views on YouTube.

Hunter is based in Austin, Texas, and has a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Baylor University. He is also a Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD). In his free time, he enjoys sailing and making movies.