After our summer break, and now back in the swing of things, here are some topics to bring to your attention. The conference information, such as workshops, district reps meeting, etc is up on the BCTEA web site. Registration is open and we would like you to attend and encourage other teachers to also attend. We have arranged for some excellent workshops and speakers to share information, as well as scheduled an opportunity for discussion regarding the future direction of our discipline.
The name change 2 decades ago from Industrial Education to Technology Education has some major challenges for us to consider. Presently a Technology Education teacher could be expected to teach any of the following courses: woodwork 8 – 12, metalwork 8 – 12, drafting 8 – 12, electronics 8 – 12, auto mechanics 11/12, small engines, carpentry, and now robotics 8 – 12, skills exploratory (plumbing, electrical, carpentry, mechanics), and maker space. No other teaching discipline has so many areas to potentially cover. If information is doubling every 18 months and technology is constantly expanding should we be thinking about what our focus areas should be so that we can up-skill existing Tech Ed teachers and prepare new Tech Ed teachers to be realistic in what they can teach? Our annual conference tries to address this issue by asking teachers to share their knowledge and skills by offering workshops for professional development. At the conference one workshop is scheduled to hear from you, your thoughts on where we should be heading, “Future directions for Technology Education”.
Increase in class sizes and reduced budgets are challenging us, but those are not our only stressors. Trying to find time to learn new technologies, and then implementing new software and running new machinery/equipment are also challenging us. Take 3D printers for example. These machines take a lot of maintenance and there is no district staff usually capable of this. Most districts have staff maintaining computer networks or woodwork/metalwork machines, but new technology falls onto our shoulders.
We are getting encouragement/pressure to add Trades training, new technology and Maker Space to our offerings in Tech Ed. Let’s take this as a positive step in helping us look at what we are presently offering to students. We do not want to be dinosaurs, so let’s be pro-active and look at the big picture and decide just what we can do and can’t do, and do it well. Let’s not forget that what we teach kids today is not just for the present, but also the future. I look forward to seeing everyone participate at our annual conference.