Senior Design Project Opens Eyes to New World

Engineering Technology Integrated into High School Classroom

Luana, a student at Bloomingdale High School in Mich., works on a circuit at an interactive whiteboard as other students work at individual computers. Photo courtesy of Roger Tuinstra.

by Public Relations

June 29, 2010

Luana, a student at Bloomingdale High School in Michigan, works on a circuit at an interactive whiteboard as other students work on similar projects on individual computers. This process started five years ago when a group of Cedarville University computer science and computer engineering students developed a tool called Cedarlogic, a computer program used to design and simulate the electronic logic at the heart of computers. They developed the program as their capstone senior design project. The team had no idea that some day that same tool would be used in a rural high school physics classroom to set new horizons for young students.

In his excitement about the new program, Dr. Tim Tuinstra, assistant professor of electrical engineering, took the tool and showed it to his father, Roger Tuinstra, director of technology at Bloomingdale High School in Bloomingdale, Mich. Tim Tuinstra grew up with his technology-minded father bringing home lab equipment for playthings and teaching his son the BASIC programming language by the time he was 12 years old. Now Tim is bringing the technology to his father to help other kids gain the same opportunities.

Roger then took the tool and implemented it in the high school classroom where he presents a three-to four-day project in the senior physics class to demonstrate how physics and math can be used in everyday occupations. “It was interesting to understand how binary numbers work in a calculator,” says Luana, “I’m planning to go into computer engineering because of this.” Many students in this rural area are not exposed to high-tech industry, and learning the program allows them to see new opportunities.

Roger Tuinstra will soon be retiring and is considering using his free time to take the program to other area schools. “I don’t think kids always realize what can be done,” he says. “I want them to get a sense of the exciting careers they could pursue if they set their sights high enough.”

Located in Cedarville, Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist university of arts, sciences, professional and graduate programs. Featuring a worldwide Christian ministries program, the University offers more than 100 areas of study to 3,000 students. Visit the University website at www.cedarville.edu.