As the team at ATE Central ramps up to create the ATE Impacts 2020-2021 publication, it is asking the ATE community for nominations of projects with promising outcomes or interesting activities to spotlight.
Nominate your project or someone else’s at https://www.research.net/r/ProjNom.
The book is a great opportunity to increase awareness of the innovations developed by principal investigators of Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers and to promote technician education in general.
In addition to informing people who read the book, the dynamic photos and compelling data that projects and centers have provided for previous editions have often been re-purposed for other technician-education outreach.
The American Association of Community Colleges, a partner on the ATE Collaborative Outreach and Engagement (ACOE) project that includes the ATE Impacts book and blog, has used ATE Impact photos in its digital and print publications, website, and ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference displays. The ACOE project has displayed large versions of ATE Impact photos at education and industry conventions. The National Science Foundation, which funds the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and the ATE Impacts book and blog, has reprinted ATE Impact photos too.
Jim Pytel, principal investigator of the Flipped Classroom Resources for Electrical Engineering Technicians project, reports that being one of the 28 projects featured in ATE Impacts 2018-2019: 25 Year of Advancing Technological Education may have contributed to more people accessing his BigBadTech videos. From October 2018 to March 2019 the project’s YouTube channel with 600 instructional videos gained 5,000 subscribers for a total of 27,600 people.
“I’ve got no direct evidence tying the increase in interest to the ATE Impact book, however, both the book and the ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference are a great way of disseminating this work among my peers,” Pytel wrote in an email.
Online Lessons Support Flipped Classroom Instruction
Pytel adds free online lessons to his project’s BigBadTech YouTube channel nearly every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the academic year from content he develops over the summer.
The engaging videos with Pytel’s snappy, down-to-business explanations of basic and complex electro-mechanical concepts are designed to support the flipped classroom. With this approach, students are expected to view lectures in advance of hands-on class sessions and are encouraged to review the content at their own pace as often as they want anytime that fits their schedules.
Pytel is most proud of his Basic Electronics: Single Phase AC Circuit Analysis. Although he has created 54 videos on this topic, it is still a work in progress. Nevertheless, in its current form Pytel considers it “the most streamlined, direct approach to teaching one of the most difficult subjects that students often struggle comprehending.”
Pytel uses the videos for the flipped electro-mechanical technology courses he teaches at Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dales, Oregon. Instructors for Linn-Benton Community College’s mechatronics program in Albany, Oregon, and Central Oregon Community College’s industrial maintenance program in Bend, Oregon, are using them as well. Pytel has also had feedback from instructors and students from all over the world via the channel’s online comment section.
He is also aware of face-to-face lecturers directing students to view BigBadTech videos to supplement their presentations and industry trainers using the videos to teach particular concepts.
Pytel has the most data on the outcomes with his target audience of students in his flipped classes and reports these observations:
“I have definitely seen a difference in the student groups with which I've used the flipped classroom approach. Not only do a larger portion of them pass using this method, a larger portion get As and Bs, principally because the content has 24-7 availability for a student to review and revisit.
“Additionally, the online content makes my courses ‘weather resistant’ in that content delivery is not delayed by the inevitable snow day. Since I've adopted this approach, I've seen my course averages become extremely ‘bimodal’ [that is] there are a large numbers of As and Bs, small to no Cs and Ds, and a couple Fs.
“I attribute this grouping to ‘do what I'm telling you to do’ (ie: As and Bs) and ‘don't do what I'm telling you to do’ (ie: Fs). What I tell them to do is watch the lectures and show up to class prepared and ready to work.
“It's also a fun way to teach. You're not in front of a whiteboard, but rather in the lab building things with the students.”