Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


This paper examines the use of cognitive tools described in Imaginative Education (IE) in a middle school level engineering education project, Talk to Me. Developed by Kieran Egan, IE proposes five different levels of understandings, or ways of seeing and structuring the world, that develop at different cognitive and linguistic stages. The use of cognitive tools that assist learners with different understandings, such as narrative, engages these learners in a way that allows them to learn concepts more deeply. Talk to Me is aimed at middle school learners, primarily female students, in order to increase engagement from an early level and encourage further pursuit of engineering education. It consists of a young-adult novel, a website, a number of interactive activities that tie into the novel, and a blog where women in undergraduate engineering programs share their experiences. All parts of Talk to Me have been designed utilizing cognitive tools suggested by IE. Beta testing occurred in 2010 with a group of elementary, middle, and high school teachers; the teachers responded with positive feedback, stating that they both could and would use Talk to Me in their classrooms. These preliminary results indicate that IE can serve as an effective strategy for engaging learners in engineering.


© 2011 American Society for Engineering Education.


Archived as published. Open access article.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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