Posts Tagged ‘ATE Centers’

ATETV Episode 26: Growing a Competitive Workforce

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This week, we learn about an agriculture curriculum and an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence that are helping to promote growth — literally and figuratively!

In our first segment, we meet Dan Miller, a student in the GPS and GIS program at Kirkwood Community College who is studying to be a “cutting-edge” farmer.

“I grew up on a farm with my father, and that’s what started my interest in the field of agriculture,” says Dan. And, through Kirkwood’s GPS/GIS program, Dan is preparing to work in in the emerging geospatial technology industry. As one of only a handful of precision agriculture programs in the nation, Kirkwood’s curriculum provides students with courses in computers, GPS (Global Positioning Systems), ArcView and data collection, in addition to agronomy and agriculture economics.

GPS technology has complemented Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for a number of years. “GPS is used in a lot of tractors, but also has a lot of other applications,” notes Dan. “There’s an infinite amount of options to use in the field of agriculture right now. This program has opened my eyes to all of the programs that are available to use in our family farm operation or to help me create my own business.”

Even if Dan decides not to pursue a career in farming, the skills he’s gaining through this program can translate into numerous other careers, including construction, natural resources or other agricultural careers. But for now, Dan says, “Once I graduate my passion is to go back home and farm with my Dad. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed and that’s what I really want to do.”

In our second segment, we visit the South Carolina ATE Center of Excellence at Florence-Darlington Technical College, which has developed proven models and successful practices to improve education — and ensure a competitive, technologically savvy workforce for the future.

“We have worked one-on-one with a number of educators and other organizations around the country to develop practices and strategies that we know will increase the quantity, quality and diversity of engineering technicians and support economic development,” explains Elaine Craft. And she adds, all of today’s education research is pointing to the value of hands-on, inquiry-based learning.

“Without a hands-on experience that puts things in context and forces students to grapple a bit, the information doesn’t stick and students don’t know how to use the information the next time they encounter it,” she notes. At Florence-Darlington, a series of changes that were initially implemented to meet the learning styles of a particular group of students,are now being used to make learning more meaningful for all students.

“We entirely changed the way we approach the first year of study, integrating mathematics, physics, technology and communications,” adds Elaine. “We also have an internship program, so we can now provide students with opportunities to work while they’re enrolled in school.” Known as a “Grow-Your-Own” approach, the internship enables students to “grow up” with an industry during their two years of school, ultimately producing a good match between the graduate and the job.

The South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center (SC ATE) is now working with community colleges and industry partners on improving Engineering Technology programs at two-year colleges not only in South Carolina, but across the country. As this week’s episode demonstrates, today’s technology students can grow and thrive in many different ways!

GeoTech Center GIS Lesson Plans

Monday, December 7th, 2009


As this week’s episode indicates, GIS — geographic information sciences — is a hot topic right now. But what is all the fuss about — and, more importantly for educators, how do you teach GIS to students?

To answer those questions, we turned to the The National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence; an NSF-funded consortium of academics, government and industry dedicated to growing GIS education. GIS is booming because it has applications across many industries, from green energy and forestry to urban planning and even homeland security. “Any field that needs to know something about what is where, why is it there and how it has changed over time can benefit from using geospatial technology,” explains Ann Johnson, Higher Education Manager for ESRI, a GIS software company and a GeoTech Center partner.

Ann’s company hosts a GIS Education Community online that lets educators share their GIS lesson plans. On the site you’ll find everything you need to prepare a lesson on the real-world applications of GIS technology. Here are three examples of what’s available:

Landslides in Washington – 3D Investigations: Students use GIS software to explore the cause of a massive October 2009 landslide in Washington State.
Scariest Road in the World? Death Road, Bolivia: GIS shows why the notorious “El Camino del Muerte” between La Paz and Coroico, Bolivia is worthy of its name.
Water Use Analysis with GIS: Students learn valuable skills by analyzing actual data from the U.S. Census and other sources.

    You can also visit ESRI’s YouTube channel to see these lesson plans in action. Hopefully these materials will inspire educators reading this to consider adding GIS to their curricula. Thanks again to ESRI’s Ann Johnson and to GeoTech Center Director Phillip Johnson for their help with this post!

    ATETV Episode 8: Underwater Robots, HVAC, and Online Learning

    Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

    ATETV episode 8 is up, and this week we’re looking at how community colleges are using online courses to better meet the varied schedules and learning styles of their students. Check out our separate blog post on the subject, where we get into some of the details with Dr. Matthew Olson, Director of Online Learning at Middlesex Community College.

    We also feature two very different ATE success stories. First, we go poolside at the MATE International ROV Competition, where teams of students design, build and operate underwater robots. Jill Zande, who helps organize the annual event, says that the learning is as much about teamwork as it is technical skills. “They’re challenged to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world,” she tells us.

    We also profile Hayden Mark, who is studying HVAC at Benjamin Franklin Technical Institute in Boston. Originally from Grenada, Hayden came to Boston three years ago. He’s studying HVAC — Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning — to provide a better life for his three (soon to be four) children. Completing his coursework will knock 2000 hours off his required apprenticeship, which means Hayden will be able to be working in his chosen field even faster.

    Like what you see? Have a question or an ATE success story of your own? Comment on our blog or start a conversation in our Forum! See you next week!

    Welcome to ATETV!
    We Look Forward to Connecting with You!

    Thursday, September 17th, 2009

    BCCC-11

    Hello everyone! We’d like to extend a big welcome to you and thank you for coming to our newly launched ATETV Web site! We have built an online community in order to communicate directly with students, educators, guidance counselors, and parents about Advanced Technological Education. We work in conjunction with the nationwide ATE Centers, and we are here to help enlighten and educate people about the amazing opportunities available for those interested in technical careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that between 2004 and 2014, U.S. companies will hire 2.5 million new workers in jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math. So we are happy to report that there are tremendous opportunities and demand for students with technical degrees!

    Every Monday ATETV will debut a new episode showcasing Advanced Technological Education in the classroom and the field. Our goal is to provide video content focused on real-world careers and skills for those who study in technical fields. We have traveled across the country to film ATE success stories from coast to coast. With an emphasis on centers and community colleges, our program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy.

    In addition to our weekly videos, ATETV aims to create an online network for ATE students, educators and professionals. We encourage you to contact us on ATETV.org by commenting on this blog or posting on our Forum. You can also follow us on social media Web sites; comment on our videos on YouTube and check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

    Please drop us a note if you have any questions or comments; we look forward to interacting with you!