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Improving Underperforming Schools

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Improving Underperforming Schools

Season 2 · Episode 30

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Description

We close out Season 2 with another visit from Rachel, an educator with experience in school improvement strategies. First Pius and Rachel discuss future plans to present sessions at the upcoming South by Southwest EDU conference in 2018, followed by an homage to Austin, Texas. Then the main discussion starts, as Rachel defines what "underperforming" or "failing" schools are and how STEM and engineering programs sometimes could be used to try to turn them around.

Our closing music is called "Wishing" by Soirée, used with permission, and you can find more tracks by Soirée on SoundCloud, user soireebeats.

The cover art for this episode is a photo of part of the view of Austin that Pius and Rachel talk about early in the episode. Pictured is the trailer for Spun, the shop that churns and freezes their ice cream with liquid nitrogen, below lights strung up around Whole Foods. Across the highway pictured is National Instruments.

Subscribe and leave episode reviews wherever you get your podcasts. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon or by buying a copy of the reference book Engineer's Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong. Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.

Transcript

Pius Wong  0:00 

It's November 20th, and it's the last episode of the 2017 season of The K12 Engineering Education Podcast.

 

Pius Wong  0:13 

I'm Pius Wong, interdisciplinary engineer and host of this show. And in this final episode of Season Two, educator Rachel Fahrig joins me again to cohost in a tech-oriented side of town in Austin, Texas. We have a chat about school improvement, as well as other news.

 

Rachel Fahrig  0:35 

We are on. Look. Blue lines.

 

Pius Wong  0:38 

I can see my electronics saying that it's working.

 

Rachel Fahrig  0:39 

It's like a pregnancy test. There's blue lines.

 

Pius Wong  0:41 

I'm not familiar.

 

Pius Wong  0:47 

Welcome to The K12 Engineering Education Podcast. I'm Pius Wong.

 

Rachel Fahrig  0:53 

And I'm Rachel fairing.

 

Pius Wong  0:55 

Welcome Rachel.

 

Rachel Fahrig  0:55 

Hi Pius.

 

Pius Wong  0:56 

It's been a little while since you've been on the podcast.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:00 

It's been more than a couple of months, I think.

 

Pius Wong  1:02 

Yeah, but that's okay. I mean, we've had a whole bunch of cool guests this year.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:07 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  1:08 

Including you and Sadhan.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:09 

Oh, thank you. I think other guests are cooler than me.

 

Pius Wong  1:13 

Like who?

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:14 

Sadhan.

 

Pius Wong  1:15 

All right. He'll be back on the show at some point.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:18 

Good.

 

Pius Wong  1:19 

We're rounding out the rest of the season.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:21 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  1:22 

And I'm glad you're here to help me wrap it up.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:24 

I'm always happy to be here.

 

Pius Wong  1:26 

Cool. We wanted to talk about a couple things, I think.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:28 

I think so. What's the biggest one? You know what's on my mind?

 

Pius Wong  1:34 

Do I know?

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:34 

South by.

 

Pius Wong  1:36 

Okay, yes. Yes. I do know that that's on your mind.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:39 

Okay.

 

Pius Wong  1:39 

What about South by? What's the news? I didn't actually announce it.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:44 

No, you haven't. So you should announce it. It's your podcast.

 

Pius Wong  1:47 

Well, I did announce before -- Well, both of us, Rachel and I, we announced that we applied to be a part of SXSW again, for 2018.

 

Rachel Fahrig  1:56 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  1:57 

And we asked for your help to vote for us for proposals for sessions. And we, drumroll, we got in. So thank you so much.

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:10 

Thank you all so much. You watched our videos. You voted. You spread the word via social networking, via mouth, whatever you did.

 

Pius Wong  2:17 

Via mouth?

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:19 

Word of mouth. Whatever.

 

Pius Wong  2:21 

I like that.  I'm going to use "via mouth" from now on.

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:23 

Via word of mouth.

 

Pius Wong  2:25 

Yeah.

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:26 

We got in

 

Pius Wong  2:27 

And what are we doing?

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:28 

Well, we're going to talk about podcasting as an educational platform.

 

Pius Wong  2:32 

Yes.

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:33 

that's one of our sessions.

 

Pius Wong  2:33 

We have a meetup there. We're going to meet other people who --

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:36 

People who are interested in podcasting, want to learn more about it, network with other podcasters.

 

Pius Wong  2:41 

Not just engineering.

 

Rachel Fahrig  2:42 

No, not at all. And then --

 

Pius Wong  2:45 

We've got another session, a workshop, where people will come in, and we're going to work with another colleague, Amar. So Rachel, Amar and I, we're going to teach participants how to use principles of both good engineering design and good improv theater to create innovative lessons in your classroom.

 

Rachel Fahrig  3:04 

Yes. Lessons that are aligned to student needs, that are aligned to standards, that meet multiple learning needs, can be implemented in diverse learning environments.

 

Pius Wong  3:17 

So you should go to South by Southwest Edu.

 

Rachel Fahrig  3:20 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  3:21 

Go to the website. I think it's sxswedu.org?

 

Rachel Fahrig  3:27 

Com?

 

Pius Wong  3:27 

Something like that.

 

Rachel Fahrig  3:28 

Oh we should probably look that up.

 

Pius Wong  3:31 

That website is actually sxswedu.com, everyone. So go check out our two sessions, and we hope you join us in Austin, Texas, in March.

 

Pius Wong  3:44 

And you know, I was just telling Rachel before we turned on the mic that I got here a little early to do some work on my computer. And I'm sitting up in the Whole Foods of Austin on the north side of town. Whole Foods on the second floor.

 

Rachel Fahrig  3:59 

Second floor cafe.

 

Pius Wong  4:00 

Yeah. And you can hear the background music, and around us there are people --

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:03 

Let them listen. Hold on. Y'all listen to this.

 

Pius Wong  4:07 

I don't know if it's that clear.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:08 

Probably not. There's music.

 

Pius Wong  4:11 

There's people talking, hanging out, eating. Whole Foods has food here.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:14 

But it's not noisy. It's ambiant.

 

Pius Wong  4:17 

It's cool.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:18 

Yeah.

 

Pius Wong  4:18 

And we're sitting in front of plate glass windows looking out into the city, and we see some city lights there in front of me. I'm thinking, like, before Rachel got here, I'm like, dang. I'm in Austin, Texas, you know, tech town in a tech building around tech people. Whole Foods was just recently bought by Amazon.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:38 

Yes. Tech.

 

Pius Wong  4:38 

We're 20 feet sitting next to an Amazon locker, where people can get stuff delivered same day.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:44 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  4:45 

I see National Instruments right across the highway, right there.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:48 

Right over there.

 

Pius Wong  4:48 

Yeah.

 

Rachel Fahrig  4:48 

It's to our 2, for those of you who want a visual.

 

Pius Wong  4:52 

Yeah. And they create visual programming software, educational software, engineering software. I see Home Away right there.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:00 

That's at our 11.

 

Pius Wong  5:01 

New tech company changing the way people vacation.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:04 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  5:05 

I see WeWork. I was just there the other day.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:09 

That's the shared coworking  space.

 

Pius Wong  5:13 

One of several in Austin.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:14 

They're beautiful, too.

 

Pius Wong  5:16 

I met the CEO of tech startup from San Francisco there just like two days ago.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:21 

Nice.

 

Pius Wong  5:21 

He started The League, which is like this dating company.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:26 

Interesting. Make note.

 

Pius Wong  5:27 

Never would I have thought that I would meet the CEO of a dating company founder.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:31 

Sure.

 

Pius Wong  5:32 

And then right next to it is Atkins. They're a civil engineering firm. Jerel Rackley, the civil engineer who was on this podcast a little while ago, he's from there. We got civil engineering, software.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:42 

There are so many places. So there's a medical --

 

Pius Wong  5:48 

Oh, yeah, prosthetics.

 

Pius Wong  5:49 

Prosthetics pace, nearby here.

 

Pius Wong  5:51 

Couple blocks away.

 

Rachel Fahrig  5:53 

Yeah, just on the other side of that building, and two blocks down.

 

Pius Wong  5:57 

And right there down -- if we look to our right on the first level, there is Spun, which is a food truck, so Austin, that serves liquid nitrogen ice cream. And I feel like --

 

Rachel Fahrig  6:07 

Ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen.

 

Pius Wong  6:10 

Bringing tech to food. I love that. So you know what? I was telling Rachel, I love this.

 

Rachel Fahrig  6:17 

I do, and it's not too far from -- There are a couple of University of Texas research campuses near here.

 

Pius Wong  6:26 

Yeah. Where they do -- I know that they do some navy research here, secret research that we can't talk about.

 

Rachel Fahrig  6:35 

Secret research that we don't actually know about.

 

Pius Wong  6:37 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  6:37 

So thank you for listening to all our conversations, all our guests from both inside Texas, inside Austin and outside.

 

Rachel Fahrig  6:50 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  6:50 

I think that the people here really care about tech, engineering, and educational policy.

 

Rachel Fahrig  6:57 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  6:57 

I mean, South by Southwest Edu is here every year. I think this city is awesome for this topic.

 

Rachel Fahrig  7:02 

Super supportive.

 

Pius Wong  7:03 

Yeah. And they're laid back. And I love that.

 

Rachel Fahrig  7:06 

And they want to learn.

 

Pius Wong  7:07 

Right. So thanks for listening.

 

Rachel Fahrig  7:10 

Thank you. Thanks, listeners.

 

Pius Wong  7:15 

So Rachel, one of the things that I was wondering about has to do with something that I've been seeing in my local news a lot lately. There are sometimes so-called underperforming schools, where maybe kids aren't meeting standardized test scores, or maybe those schools are underenrolled. And one of the solutions that I've heard tossed around as a possible way to bring these schools back up, is to implement maybe a STEM focus in these schools, or bring these special programs like robotics programs or some other kind of engineering-oriented program. Computer science. And they think that, okay, bringing these hands-on tech-oriented subjects into these schools might, I don't know, turn it around, bring kids into the fold, make them improve their test scores. All that stuff. Or is this a pipe dream? Is there actual truth to this? I'm asking you because you are an experienced educator. And I think you heard more about this than I had.

 

Rachel Fahrig  8:13 

Sure. So what I will say is that the idea of school improvement, or the practice of school improvement, is not -- there's no one right way. There's no simple solution. There's no magical potion or spell that you can impart on a campus to take it from what we here in Texas call "improvement required" to "meeting standard."

 

Pius Wong  8:45 

Is that like the grade that you give to schools?

 

Rachel Fahrig  8:46 

Yes. So "improvement required" means that they have not met a certain level of achievement in multiple areas. You have to meet three out of four, essentially, to be designated as having met standard. And it's kind of a complicated. How it's calculated is super complicated. But then understanding does take a little bit of research and knowledge, and some conversations with administrators and data personnel either at the campus or district level. But essentially, a school that has not met a certain number of qualifying domains will be in need of improvement. And the way to get schools to that level of meeting standard is so -- really personalized.

 

Rachel Fahrig  9:47 

Yeah. Because you said, okay, it's not one way --

 

Rachel Fahrig  10:04 

It could be a large urban school. It could be a smaller urban school. It could be a charter school. It could be a small rural school. There are so many different ways that can look. And there are some commonalities among campuses that do require improvement. Sometimes it has to do with a lack of aligned or really high quality curriculum. Sometimes that has to do with the level of instruction that's in place. Sometimes there are campus leadership, policies, and procedures that just aren't systemically strong enough to maintain a focus on continuous improvement. Sometimes there's a lack of monitoring.

 

Pius Wong  10:55 

That sounds like a very polite way of saying that some admin need improvement.

 

Rachel Fahrig  11:00 

Yeah.

 

Pius Wong  11:00 

It reminds me when I worked at my old company in engineering industry, and everyone gets graded "meets expectations," "needs improvement," or "exceeds expectations."

 

Rachel Fahrig  11:12 

Yes. And probably there's a disproportionate -- I'm guessing, at your old place of employment, you would probably see a disproportionate number of managerial and administrative staff who are exceeding expectations.

 

Pius Wong  11:27 

I don't know. This was back when I was like, you know, level one engineer.

 

Rachel Fahrig  11:31 

Gotcha. And so it's -- Anytime when you're dealing with education, these are humans, adult humans, dealing with young humans, children-humans. So even the adult humans on the campus are still guided and constrained by adult humans at the district level, or at the school board level, which is sort of affiliated with a district, but they're a governing body rather than an instructional and administrative body. They might be guided and constrained by community members who want to see a certain vision from that school for their children. They might be guided and constrained by state statute, maybe. Maybe there are certain initiatives that the school would like to engage in that simply aren't possible. So the arena of school improvement is always super-duper complicated, but one of the commonalities that I have seen for schools that have turned around or have improved themselves is, yes, having an aligned, rigorous, societally and future-forward-looking, I guess, curriculum. So teaching their kids how to be ready for what may be coming up ahead, even if we don't know what that looks like.

 

Pius Wong  13:08 

Computer programming.

 

Rachel Fahrig  13:08 

Exactly. STEM. Computer programming. Problem-solving is a huge one. The ability to apply mathematical skills to real-world situations and scenarios. So I have seen those types of cross-curricular STEM programs work to help improve schools.

 

Pius Wong  13:33 

But it's not like this silver bullet.

 

Rachel Fahrig  13:34 

But it isn't "the solution." I don't think, though, that I would ever deter a school who is looking at improvement efforts. If they say we want to take a strong STEM focus, I think I would encourage that.

 

Pius Wong  13:52 

Doesn't matter the type of school.

 

Rachel Fahrig  13:53 

No.

 

Pius Wong  13:53 

It's still possible.

 

Rachel Fahrig  13:54 

It is. It's possible. It's relevant. It's important. It's simple. It does not necessarily take all of the highest tech equipment. You don't need a makerspace to get your kids focused on the types of activities, the habits of mind, the types of thinking that they would engage in, in those STEM programs. And also engaging in STEM applications and STEM curriculum invites teachers to change their instruction, as well. If your students are really engaged in a strong STEM program, they're active, they're doing things, they're applying things, they're making things. You cannot be --

 

Pius Wong  14:45 

You can't teach the same way.

 

Rachel Fahrig  14:46 

No, you can't stand at the front of the room and just lecture and have PowerPoints and anticipate that your students will have the depth of knowledge that comes from them truly interacting with science and technology and engineering and math,

 

Pius Wong  15:03 

So the question that came to my mind as you said that was: For schools that you've seen that have implemented these programs to try to improve their kids performance, how long does it take to see a gain? Because it sounds nice. Like you start teaching STEM, but --

 

Rachel Fahrig  15:23 

Exactly.

 

Pius Wong  15:23 

That's what I wonder.

 

Rachel Fahrig  15:24 

A lot of that truly depends on adult behaviors.

 

Pius Wong  15:28 

There are a lot of variables.

 

Rachel Fahrig  15:29 

There are. Almost countless variables.

 

Pius Wong  15:31 

When you said that, I was thinking, Oh man, this is like, the same complications and criticisms that people say when you grade an individual student.

 

Rachel Fahrig  15:40 

Yes,

 

Pius Wong  15:40 

A student has all this complexity and stuff going on.

 

Rachel Fahrig  15:42 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  15:43 

And even if they're failing math and English, maybe they're great in some other thing, and you're making me think, okay, a school has hundreds more facets to itself. It's made up of hundreds of individuals. So they also have strengths and weaknesses, and even if they're quote-unquote not meeting these standards or failing, they --

 

Rachel Fahrig  16:05 

There are still probably things that they do well, but it's a matter of leveraging and monitoring and amplifying those things, and applying them across multiple areas to ensure that the things that are going well get applied in other areas to bring them up or to change them.

 

Pius Wong  16:27 

So let me ask you a challenging question. If it's hard to grade schools or districts for all the reasons we've said, why do districts and governments and whoever, why do they do that? Just like we talk about grading kids, I'm curious. What's the argument?

 

Rachel Fahrig  16:46 

So there are certain federal and state guidelines in place that require that schools need to be able to measure themselves against other schools, and measure themselves against themselves, essentially.

 

Pius Wong  17:05 

Change over time?

 

Rachel Fahrig  17:06 

Change over time, but change more -- No -- well, yes, and --

 

Pius Wong  17:17 

Yes, and.

 

Rachel Fahrig  17:17 

Yes, and -- also change as compared to how other districts and campuses are changing. The standards are set essentially by state legislature and other governing bodies, both the federal and state level. And this isn't just in Texas. And then schools -- Those metrics are passed on to schools, to districts, even to the public. This is all public information, so everyone knows where they need to be and where they are. But the complicated work is in getting there and in understanding why those standards, those metrics, rather, exist. How were they developed? What do they mean? And that is somewhat hard to articulate. A lot of it has to do with post-secondary placement, whether a student is going on to college, the military, a vocational career. What is it that they're doing after high school graduation? So that's one of the areas that is measured. Readiness for college, career, military, whatever is coming up next, really is kind of the end-point for the backward design that occurs --

 

Pius Wong  19:03 

For the state level.

 

Rachel Fahrig  19:04 

Yes. For calculating what are the other, you know -- how do we measure that readiness? And that's what the other checkpoints really kind of are.

 

Pius Wong  19:14 

So do you think engineering and STEM and computer science, that better prepares schools and districts to meet these standards?

 

Rachel Fahrig  19:22 

I think so. And this is just in my experience. Because there's so much overlap, there's so much cross-curricular learning that occurs in order to be able to adequately write a finalized engineering report, for example. You have to have strong English language arts skills. You can't effectively communicate what you did, where you failed, what you changed, how you improved, and here's the final product, unless you're a good writer. In order to demonstrate to someone how your product works, you might need to be able to explain the mathematics behind it. Even including the arts, which, you know, that's one of my things. Being able to draw diagrams or visually represent something -- It's an engineering skill, but it's also an artistic ability.

 

Pius Wong  20:24 

You're really putting up a good case here, Rachel, so I'm convinced. I guess engineering classes really can be used as a tool to kind of bring a community up.

 

Rachel Fahrig  20:33 

I think so. There's certainly an argument for it.

 

Pius Wong  20:37 

Even if it's not a silver bullet.

 

Rachel Fahrig  20:38 

Yes. And I think that it extends far beyond the classroom. Being able to bring in community members and family members, not only to showcase students' work, but to have hands-on collaboration between students and industry professionals --

 

Pius Wong  20:56 

What else do you need in addition to just having a STEM program, and I guess community involvement is one of them to turn a school around.

 

Rachel Fahrig  21:02 

Yes, huge.

 

Pius Wong  21:03 

You're saying one of the most important --

 

Rachel Fahrig  21:05 

All the stakeholders have to buy in. They have to be involved. They have to be supportive. When you are turning around a school, especially schools that have been struggling for a long time, when the community is jaded, or when adults start giving up, it's a big problem. And you can't turn around a school where the adults have already given up. So having that external support -- and by support I don't mean, here's some money, or will send you a mentor. I mean, day-to-day working alongside the school.

 

Pius Wong  21:47 

Like volunteering for things.

 

Rachel Fahrig  21:48 

yes.

 

Pius Wong  21:50 

Sitting with their kids.

 

Rachel Fahrig  21:51 

Yes.

 

Pius Wong  21:51 

Cheering on at the robotics competition.

 

Rachel Fahrig  21:54 

Yes, exactly. And sometimes just even being visible, being seen, being available, can be a huge step in supporting the activities that are going on in those schools.

 

Pius Wong  22:08 

Is there anything else? What else would you say is key, in conjunction with community support and a good curriculum, to turn a school around?

 

Rachel Fahrig  22:15 

Communication. Everyone has to be on the same page. And again, I think it comes down to a lot of adult behaviors: leaving egos out of it and focusing on what is best, what is right, what will work, and what will translate into long-term sustainability and success. It's super important.

 

Pius Wong  22:41 

Not to give specifics or anything, but what would an example look like?

 

Rachel Fahrig  22:48 

I will say, I've worked in a lot of struggling schools. I've worked in a lot of Title One schools. I have worked in alternative environments that included secure treatment facilities. In all of those environments you're dealing with students who are already struggle in school, may not like school, have aversion for one reason or another. It sometimes happens that their parents or grandparents or both also had poor experiences in school. Either it was hard, they didn't like their teachers, they didn't like their school, they felt ostracized, they felt unimportant, they felt degraded. Those adult mindsets or experiences do carry on to that younger generation. You're not going to be able to get those parents or family members to participate at the school in academic activities. because they're uncomfortable. It's not that they don't want to, but it's really intimidating.

 

Rachel Fahrig  24:05 

So, how hard is it to have an academic night with a social focus out in the community? If you are an urban school, and you're surrounded by apartment complexes, have your academic night at one of the clubhouses. Do your principal's coffee on a weekend day.

 

Pius Wong  24:27 

These are suggestions you've seen.

 

Rachel Fahrig  24:29 

Yes. You have to work around parents' work schedules. You have to work around their biases. You have to work around their trepidation and their concerns, if you really want them to understand education is so different now than it was 20 years ago. We're different. We're better. If you cannot meet them where they're at, if you cannot go to who and where they are, and you only insist on: we're the school, you need to come here, you probably will not be very successful.

 

Pius Wong  25:07 

Yeah. Okay, so now all those stories that I hear in the news of parents conflicting with school districts, that makes more sense to me now. There's some conflict, there's some lack of communication.

 

Rachel Fahrig  25:16 

Yes. Everybody wants what is best for the kids, they really do. Coming to a common vision of what that looks like and how to achieve it is the harder part. And in order to do that, no one can stand toe-to-toe and say, we're only going to do it this way.

 

Pius Wong  25:36 

Even if it's engineering.

 

Rachel Fahrig  25:39 

Well, I would say if you're going to do engineering, you probably should throw some other things in there, too.

 

Pius Wong  25:44 

I guess we're doing this last, last-ish episodes of the season. Something that came up is like, I guess you were telling me, Rachel, that sometimes people ask, how do you know what to say in a podcast?

 

Rachel Fahrig  26:00 

Yeah.

 

Pius Wong  26:00 

Like what we're doing right now.

 

Rachel Fahrig  26:01 

Like, how do we -- So for example, when I was leaving work today, and it's a Friday, people naturally ask each other, what are you doing this weekend? And I said, Well, you know, like every weekend, I do stuff with my kid. But tonight, I'm meeting up with Pius, and we're going to --

 

Pius Wong  26:22 

Thank you, by the way.

 

Rachel Fahrig  26:24 

Thank you. I said, we're going to record at least one podcast. We're wrapping up this season. And you know, we have some issues on backlog that we want to go ahead and record and be able to publish. And one of my colleagues said, How do you do that? How do you know what to talk about? How do you guys --

 

Pius Wong  26:45 

Do we read off a script?

 

Rachel Fahrig  26:46 

Yes. All have that. How do you guys get together and do a podcast?

 

Pius Wong  26:53 

Are we talking on the phone? So how do we do it?

 

Rachel Fahrig  26:58 

How do we do it? Well, when we first started doing this, you, Pius, would send me -- I would ask for you to send me some guiding questions.

 

Pius Wong  27:10 

Like topics.

 

Rachel Fahrig  27:11 

Topics and maybe discussion points that you might like to cover. And I would just read them. I would think about them. I would kind of maybe formulate some thoughts in my head, but I didn't write anything. I didn't take notes. I just read your email and thought about it. And then usually we would set a time and a date, because we do -- When we record our podcasts, we meet up in person. We don't do this virtually or over the phone or via Skype.

 

Pius Wong  27:47 

I only do it for people who are out of state and everything, but we're here.

 

Rachel Fahrig  27:51 

Yeah, we don't -- We're close close by each other.

 

Pius Wong  27:54 

We like the Whole Foods background music.

 

Rachel Fahrig  27:57 

We meet in different places, and that for me, is exciting. But we we usually catch up on what's been going on in our lives. And then we just take a few minutes to kind of verbally outline what we'll say.

 

Pius Wong  28:14 

Yeah, and then we talk. I don't actually know everything you're gonna say. I don't think you know exactly what I'm going to say.

 

Rachel Fahrig  28:19 

I have no idea what questions are going to be asked of me. So I have to be quick on my feet.

 

Pius Wong  28:24 

And I think that for me, I like that, because I want it to be more natural. This is not a script.

 

Rachel Fahrig  28:32 

Yes, it's authentic. It's conversational.

 

Pius Wong  28:35 

I like that we're thinking as we're talking, sometimes. And I say a lot of um's, I've noticed, as you've heard, in lots of my episodes.

 

Rachel Fahrig  28:43 

We've talked about that as -- Maybe you should do a podcast on that: how to avoid um's, likes, and --

 

Pius Wong  28:50 

Technical presentation skills. That would be a great episode.

 

Rachel Fahrig  28:54 

That would be a good one.

 

Pius Wong  28:55 

I've had many --

 

Rachel Fahrig  28:56 

You should probably write that down. So we do a lot of this too. And that just all gets edited out, usually,

 

Pius Wong  29:03 

Unless I -- yeah.

 

Rachel Fahrig  29:04 

Unless it becomes the focus of a podcast.

 

Pius Wong  29:11 

I want you to look out for a couple of new themes. So Sadhan, who's not here today, but he is super interested in spearheading a series of episodes all about giving you an introduction to engineering, just pure engineering. It'll be awesome. And I think we're going to start out with mechanical engineering. So if you want to feel like you're going to mechanical engineering college, getting a Bachelors in engineering without doing all the little detailed work, you can hear about it.

 

Rachel Fahrig  29:38 

And I would say, as the non-engineering guest, even if you're not interested in or you think you're not interested in mechanical engineering, number one, you probably will be by the end of the podcast. And number two, anytime one of these podcasts is published, and there's a launch point for something that is tangentially related, we will probably explore that.

 

Pius Wong  30:11 

Listen to the Engineering Word Of The Day podcast, as well.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:13 

That's a really good one. I love that one.

 

Pius Wong  30:16 

You listen to that?

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:17 

I do.

 

Pius Wong  30:17 

I don't know who listens to it.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:18 

Not every one, but I like words. Words are great.

 

Pius Wong  30:22 

You know, I don't know if you noticed, but my Engineering Word Of The Day podcast is very much on purpose informal, and the episodes go away. They do.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:30 

I did not know that.

 

Pius Wong  30:31 

They stay on the internet in a semi-secret place.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:34 

Limited time engagement, guys.

 

Pius Wong  30:36 

That's why if I say something weird, I don't have to be embarrassed about it forever.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:40 

Oh, then you better listen to it when it comes out.

 

Pius Wong  30:42 

So engineeringwordoftheday.com, and you can learn a new piece of jargon every single day. What's your favorite engineering word, Rachel?

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:51 

Iteration.

 

Pius Wong  30:53 

Thank you. Episode one.

 

Rachel Fahrig  30:54 

You're welcome. All right. Thank you Pius. This is always such a pleasure.

 

Pius Wong  31:01 

And I think that we should do this again. Yes, we'll try it in a new place or different place, and we'll have more guests on.

 

Rachel Fahrig  31:09 

Maybe we can meet up with a prior guest in their workplace and talk about the connection or intersection between technology and social availability. I just made that up.

 

Pius Wong  31:29 

It sounds like --

 

Rachel Fahrig  31:30 

What I mean is, we need to meet up with some of these people that have their offices in this particular location. And why?

 

Pius Wong  31:39 

Yeah, okay. We'll have a beer. Talk.

 

Rachel Fahrig  31:41 

Maybe. We'll just have tea.

 

Pius Wong  31:46 

No one knows if we do or don't, so it's okay. Take care everyone. Thank you so much for listening this year.

 

Rachel Fahrig  31:52 

Thank you.

 

Pius Wong  31:54 

And good luck with everything that you do.

 

Rachel Fahrig  31:57 

Next season.

 

Pius Wong  32:00 

There are a number of people who've donated to this podcast and to Pios Labs over the last several months. And I have to say, deeply, genuinely, thank you so much. It means a lot to me that you all are supporting this project and supporting engineering education in general. I hope I can continue producing this show for you for a long time.

 

Pius Wong  32:24 

If you want to find notes and links to things Rachel and I mentioned today, head on over to the podcast website: k12engineering.net. That's k12engineering.net, not .com. And there you can also find transcripts for old episodes. Season One transcripts are all up, and I'll be getting transcripts up for Season Two soon. Don't miss Season Three in 2018. And don't miss any other news about what we're up to. You can keep up with us by subscribing to the email newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, on Twitter. And if you haven't yet, just subscribe to the podcast, itself, on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Google Play, or any other podcast player over the internet. And finally, please consider supporting the show on Patreon, at patreon.com/pioslabs. As a thank you to some of my donors, I'm giving away my -- digital copy of my ebook, Engineer's Guide to Improv and Art Games. So thank you to my Patreon donors and please check that book out.

 

Pius Wong  33:32 

Our closing music is called "Wishing" by Soiree, and you can find more music by Soiree on Soundcloud under the username soireebeats, or just check out the show notes for link. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of my independent studio, Pios Labs. This is Pius Wong. Thank you for listening.