Evergreen Middle School is using new technology to teach old-school shop classes.
With the help of video-making software, along with iPads and laptops, seventh-graders are learning how to use drills, lathes and other tools to create wooden cars.
Teacher Chet Andes says the melding of the new with the old creates the perfect classroom where students can learn procedures at their own pace. With 25 to 30 students in a classroom, it’s difficult for Andes to teach techniques and procedures, plus answer individual questions. In his technology-centered classroom, students find the videos Andes has made so they can learn on their own. Yet he is always available to answer questions.
If students are absent, they have access to the videos, so it is easier to catch up on assignments and move forward with projects.
“Any time we have a step in the process,” Andes said, “I do the demonstration for the class, and I film it using an iPad, too. I edit it and put it on my Web page.”
Andes is one of 11 EMS teachers licensed in hybrid education — combining face-to-face teaching with online instruction, according to teacher-librarian Debbie Richards. Technology is being implemented in other disciplines as well.
EMS has become a leader in technology education, and that comes in part because of the $93,000 the school’s PTA has donated over the past several years to help pay for iPads and desktop and laptop computers.
Jeffco Schools is putting hubs in each classroom so students will have easy access to the Internet. With limitations on what they can access, students will be able to look at teaching videos with ease.
“We have a dream that every kid will have access to technology,” principal Kristopher Schuh said.
In the seventh-grade shop class, students are making dragster cars. Last Friday, Andes demonstrated a splatter-painting technique. Students gathered around as he showed them how to apply the paint. He also set up an iPad to record the demonstration.
Andes joked that he could be a hand model because his hands are the only part of him that can be seen on the videos.
He says his class is two weeks ahead of schedule. He doesn’t know whether he can attribute that to the students in general or to the new teaching techniques.
“This is a great way to tie in the old with the new,” Andes said. “This is the best way I have found to make students independent.”
Students seem to like the technology-based learning techniques, and they especially like the ability to stay on top of the lessons when they’re sick.
“I wish all of our classes were videotaped, so when I’m sick or behind, I can just watch the videos of the teachers,” said seventh-grader Lauren Story.
Students agreed that they don’t get stuck on a step as they’re building their cars because there’s always a video available to help.
“I know exactly how to do the next step, so I don’t have to ask Mr. Andes,” seventh-grader Tameryn Coryell said.
Seventh-grader Ethan Rouse put it simply: “It’s a better way of learning.”