EDDL 5151 Week 7: Activity 1 Michael Nauth
Integrating Educational Technologies for Effective Learning:
In all of our Trades areas in Apprenticeship Training, teachers are hired (whether full-time or part-time) based on their trade qualifications and on their practical abilities in the trade. Instruction time is split between the in-classroom theory and the in-shop application, so it is just as important for the teacher to explain processes as it is to perform them by way of demonstration. Safety is paramount so the teacher is required to follow and to guide the class in the correct procedure as defined by the manufacturer of the tool and the Construction Safety Association. Aside from MS Office and maybe a bit of CAD, there is no other technology requirement. Teachers then generally teach in the same way that they were taught and always within their comfort zone. In a machismo sector of employment, no one wants to show discomfort or uncertainty.
Any new technology that is introduced needs to be done consensually with the teachers involved. With such a large institution as ours, the tendency is to purchase and mandate the same technologies for all programs, supposedly economies of scale. But nothing is saved if the products are not used. We have had great success and buy-in with the Document Camera Video/Audio recorders for our Drafting and Construction Geometry classes. Smart Boards are used by some teachers but the majority still prefer to sketch and work out calculation and detailing problems on the White Boards so that the students see the processes one step at a time. Most of the carpentry professors use the layering tool in AutoCAD to project and ‘build’ components in the sequence that it would be done on the job site. All are posting grades to BlackBoard as well as practice assignments and answer sheets. We learn how to access the Building Code online, but the paper format is still taught since they will have to use that to write their Red Seal exams.
The next step that would be welcomed by all is setting up interactive multiple-choice questions that would include instant feedback with instructions and examples for those who choose an incorrect answer. Anywhere, anytime, and on Smartphones would get the apprentices hooked since they almost all have that technology now. The key is to present the material in a way that is accessible to them. When the professors know that the students want and will use the technology, they commit themselves to learning to use it. We have a great technical support team at the college and they will guide us as a small group when requested to do so. It is the old chicken and egg thing, and as coordinator I hope to provide some leadership to our team this Fall.
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