CTE educators find creative ways to teach hands-on skills during coronavirus school closings

Dive Brief:

  • Career and technology education teachers are grappling with how to continue hands-on learning while schools are closed, The 74 Million reports. Teachers of hands-on fields, such as nursing, welding and physical education, typically rely on equipment to educate and most haven’t used online technology for instruction.
  • Nursing teachers are using creative methods, such as demonstrating skills like bed bathing on video.Teachers are also using low-tech options, such as having students journal about how grass is growing in their yards, select their favorite recipes or learn how to do laundry. Though these options don’t make up for lost classroom time, the effort allows students to continue some form of learning.
  • Also, ed tech and textbook companies are pitching in by temporarily providing free online resources, such as the VRTEX Virtual Welding Simulator. 

Dive Insight:

Some subjects lend themselves to online learning, but career and technical education is not one of them. For those teachers and students, distance learning presents a challenge more than others. Administrators can work with teachers to develop options that allow for students to continue to practice their skills and reschedule industry certification tests. In some states, educators are also encouraged to find non-CTE course-equivalents of CTE classes that could be taught instead. 

SHAPE America is offering help to physical education teachers with resources that allow for the continuation of standards-based lessons. Administrators and teachers can use these guides to develop a fitness program that can be practiced at home. For example, it explains how to instruct students to track their target heart rate multiple times a week as part of their fitness plan.

The same struggles exist in higher education. At Peninsula College in Washington state, welding educators are scrambling to figure how students can continue to log lab time. For those with equipment at home, students can send in photos of their finished work, but others may have to make up for lost time the following semester.

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