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techdirections April 2017 : Page 25

power to influence hearts, minds, careers, and imagination. Nothing fires the imagination like science fic-tion and even science fantasy, so why not use it more, as a creativity and imagination aid? It is often wrongly considered to be the poor stepchild of literature for classroom reading. Quick are we to dismiss its value as a sterling example of subject integra-tion. When we do study it, we often neglect to study it as the sweeping, integrative harbinger of the future that it is. We need to change this oversight. Encourage your students to read science fiction and discuss it. Assign readings, but first identify and ap-preciate the great works of literature that were science fiction pieces: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Frankenstein , A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court , The Time Machine , Brave New World, and more. Let’s take a quick look at the ben-efits of studying science fiction: l It is the only literary genre that systematically explores the inter-relationship of science, technology, society, and history, exploring future possible scenarios and potential cultural impacts. l This interdisciplinary look at the world is exactly what is now being encouraged in school curricula and standards. STEM is one aspect of this. l The science fiction theme is a naturally popular one, likely to draw interest from young students who generally warm-up to the topic of fu-turism. Youth wants to think broadly, engage in relevant things—a nice match for STEM-related studies. l Science fiction can be used to help participants recognize the con-nection between society, technology, art, and literature. l Science fiction is absolutely loaded with imaginative aspects created by the writer and re-created in the minds of the reader. Science fiction creativity and imagination has impacted our lan-guage, stimulated our art and mov-ies, generated many new science fiction writers, and given raw meat to another generation of inventors and futurists. That old Star Trek TV show handled some very serious social issues as well; and all this mixes together with futuristic science and technology in a wonderful stew we call progress, where everything is connected to something else. Think of the incredible technology and new products coming out of the late 1800s, from guys like Edison, Ford, Tesla, Bell, and others. This was probably like science fiction to most of the rest of the world. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. —Arthur C. Clarke Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what the perceptions of the general population were 75 years ago as writers then talked enthusiastically about the potential of such new inventions and technologies in their early phases of development like: l Radio l Flight l Electricity l Rocketry l Television l Atomic Energy Have your students study this and speculate on the multi-dimen-sional impacts some of today’s tech-nology might bring 50 years from now, like: l Genetic engineering l Nano technology l Artificial intelligence l Artificial organs l Solar energy l Energy from plant life (biofuels) l The Internet of Things Inventions pose different potential to different people, based on how they see the world and the particular things they’ve experienced in their CNC ROUTERS CNC LASERS CNC PLASMAS Mini CNC Router Tabletop CNC Router CNC Laser System CNC Plasma System Large Format CNC Router technology edUcation 631-648-7481 25

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