Sunday, May 11, 2014

Smithsonian magazine for source material

I want to recommend a website that is a great source of material for all types of engineering courses. The website of the Smithsonian magazine has a marvelous variety of topic areas, articles, videos, games and visuals. This magazine is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. This institution is a group of 19 museums and 9 research centers that comprise the largest and most diverse "museum" in the United States. It was founded in 1846 for "the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The institution's magazine certainly reflects that vision.

Main topic areas are:
  • Smartnews
  • History
  • Science
  • Innovation
  • Arts & Culture
  • Travel
  • At the Smithsonian
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Games
Within the Innovation section (where I like to look), there are further topic areas:
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health & Medicine
  • Innovators
  • Technology
  • Video
  • Future is Here Festival (an annual event)

I like to browse through the "Technology" section of Innovation to find interesting articles for my students. Some recent headlines (April to May 2014) are:

  • Here’s a Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat
  • Checking the Claim: A House That Produces More Energy than it Consumes
  • Inside the Science of an Amazing New Surgery Called Deep Brain Stimulation 
  • Inside the Technology That Can Turn Your Smartphone Into a Personal Doctor
  • Massive Flying Wind Turbine Could Offer a New Path to Clean Energy
  • This Battery Could Charge Your Smartphone in 30 Seconds
In future posts I will be sharing the work I will do with some of these articles, but next week I'll focus on an article from the "Education" section of Innovation, since a topic I found there provided material for a very lively discussion in three different engineering classes of mine (robotics engineering, biomedical engineering and information technology). The area of engineering doesn't matter, since the topic focuses on engineering in general (What does it mean to "think like an engineer"?), and all my students had a lot to say about it. And, as usual, I'll include some ideas about features of language focused on.

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