It's a privilege to have the freedom to use your mind and your hands. BUT…..
This time of year, high school students across the country are selecting which programs they want to enroll in for the coming school year. It’s a crucial time for educators, industry and workforce leaders to raise awareness of how technical education programs empower students with real skills for the real world.
We hold this common belief that all of us are created equal, that we all have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The embodiment of the ”American dream” is that if you can dream it, you can do it.
The fact that students get to choose what they want to pursue and get to pursue what they are most interested in is a privilege. The ability to choose what you want to do with your life is a privilege that is lost to many.
Even with the rise of technology, classroom settings haven’t changed much. It used to be that students learned practical skills that enhanced the skills they needed to live in the real world. At some point over the years we transitioned to a more theoretical approach to learning.
As a result the connection between what students are learning and how it applies to real life is not always clear. The books and technology are being taught to students who have little working knowledge of how what they’re learning will be important to the career they’re preparing for.
High School programs can prepare students for life.
Tech ED Instructors, like Mark Harris at Ulster BOCES, nurture future leaders who tackle real world problems and work on collaborative situations that allow students to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
This is demonstrated in the Edge Factor films featuring CTE students who push back the edge of what’s possible to solve real world problems. Students like Tyler in the cinematic film Charging Up. One would think that being homeless and not having a penny to his name would define his future, but after facing a difficult family situation Tyler found himself enrolled in the CTE program at Ulster County BOCES. The pull of a great teacher, and the seduction of a program that would give him the ability to build a solar car, yanked him from the brink of what could have been… a statistic. As a young black man, Tyler learned to use machines and software while working with a team to face real world pressure to create a car that would be used in the Earth Day TX Solar Car Challenge. This positioned Tyler as a young man who graduated with confidence, having accomplished a feat of creating a piece of the future using his own mind and his own hands.
Students in Tech Ed Programs are changing the world.
When a student gets involved in a real world project solving problems with their own mind and their own hands, they are not only developing a solution, but they are also changing their own world, by unleashing their imagination.
In another Edge Factor film, The Hand, you’ll see how students in different STEAM classes work together to provide a medical solution for stroke victims. It’s the lack of motion in the hands that often plagues the stroke victim. The rise in technology and robotics is allowing for advances in regaining mobility. CTE students at Ulster Boces lead the charge when they created an exoskeleton hand to help rehabilitate stroke victims. Students in health sciences and design engineering had to work together, and use the power of 3D printing technology, robotics and experiential learning to successfully create the hand that’s changing the world.
The sky's not the limit for Hands-on Students. Literally.
In the film, Reach Beyond, we meet Ali, a young female CTE student, who worked with a NASA Hunch team to build and inspect lockers that were sent to astronauts on the International Space Station. The mistakes were costly, the learning curves were steep, but the practical outworkings of math, material sciences and the melding of the mind with the software and robotics, gave them a foundational understanding of what the future could hold. Not many high school students can claim that something they made is out there floating in space.
Technical education programs help students move beyond textbook answers, it allows them to use their knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) while gaining hands-on experience to overcome challenges, and solve problems. They gain transferable skills that will set them up for success no matter what career they choose to pursue.
We applaud the teachers willing to empower students to take on challenges, teachers who reach across the curricular boundaries and bring real life learning into the classroom. We all have a role to play in inspiring the next generation of makers and innovators who will craft a life and an economical path that will leave the history books gasping.
As students are choosing which programs to enroll in for the following year, Edge Factor is providing educators, parents and companies with tools to help students discover how to become future proof. Edge Factor’s Future Skills toolkit promotes and celebrates technical education programs and encourages students to get involved!
The Future Skills Toolkit is available for free until February 28, 2022 thanks to our partners, National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, National Tooling and Machining Association, ABB and Skills Ontario.
For Edge Factor Premium members only:
This kit will continue to be available for you all year! Don’t forget, if you are an educator you can assign this content for your Classes and Students to watch the media and answer quizzes. This Experience paired with the Industry “Student Directed Activities” are a great way to gain metrics and see your student responses too.
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