September 13, 2016

Why This Book Should Be Made Compulsory In Engineering Colleges

A new book arrived at the small library we have at my workplace.

The Innovators - How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution  by Walter Isaacson.

Isaacson is the same guy who wrote Steve Jobs.

I issued the book from the library and have started reading.

In the first chapter, the writer introduces us that how the Digital world changed over time and how initial innovators of the age brought the changes that we have adapted to.

 I've been a teacher (Assistant Professor) in a few Engineering Colleges of Gujarat in my previous jobs, teaching subjects related to Computers and Information Technology.

And I found that as teachers we had very little time to teach the history of Computers and Internet.

As a result, the students never went into the amazing history of this Digital Revolution.

All they're concerned with cramming the Digital Circuits and a few Programs in different computer languages to be asked in the exams.

Students never come to know how all these technologies and innovations came into existence.

The little history they read in their first year is too dry and boring.

Instead, students should be made aware of the history with the help of fascinating stories - either in the form of book or videos.

And this is where "The Innovators" bridges the gap. A book written in a narrative style, as if you're reading a story.

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter (on the most used word these days: INNOVATION) :
We talk so much about innovation these days that it has become a buzzword, drained of clear meaning. So in this book I set out to report on how innovation actually happens in the real world. How did the most imaginative innovators of our time turn disruptive ideas into realities?
These days students are forced to do innovative projects for their final year projects.

But innovation cannot happen just with the intention of passing the exams and submitting project reports. It requires passion and thorough understanding of the underlying technological problems.

Students and Faculties should understand the underlying forces that brought the innovations these innovators made.

Another small excerpt from the first chapter:
[In this book] I also explore the social and cultural forces that provide the atmosphere for innovation. For the birth of digital age, this included a research ecosystem that was nurtured by government spending and managed by a military-industrial-academic collaboration. Intersecting with that was a loose alliance of community organizers, communal-minded hippies, do-it-yourself hobbyists, and homebrew hackers, most of whom were suspicious of centralized authority.
Finally, the author cites the example of one of the most brilliant innovators of Digital Age: Steve Jobs. He explains how the truest creativity spurs from those who could connect arts and sciences.

Innovation requires connecting the big ideas from the big disciplines. [Must Read: Creating a Lattice Work of Mental Model]

Here's an excerpt from the book:
Finally, I was struck by how the truest creativity of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and sciences. They believed that beauty mattered. "I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics," Jobs told me when I embarked on his biography. "Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that's what I wanted to do." The people who were comfortable at this humanities-technology intersection helped to create the human-machine symbiosis this is at the core of this story.

And based on above paragraph, the writer narrates the first story of a lady who understood the romance of poetry and intersected the romance of math and machinery.

I rest the post here with a request to all teachers to read this book and tell the stories to students. And dear students, read the book and get inspired to INNOVATE.

  

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