User blog: Inspired PD
The CTE Director Provides a Community for Their “Lone Wolf” Career and Technical Education Teachers
In the world of
education, collaboration and feedback are vital to successful learning; but as
the CTE Director you know it’s also vital to a teacher’s professional
development. While most learning centers provide teachers with a community of
co-workers in similar subject matter, it is often those in the career and
technical education clusters that are left to fend for themselves. Without a
group to bounce ideas off of and get feedback on new trends, techniques, or
progressive tactics to get students involved the CTE educators can find their
students have become disengaged.
What can InspirED do for CTE Directors?
If CTE educators are considered the “lone wolves” of teachers, then the CTE Director is the force that helps them become “a pack.” The tools and programs made available to teachers become the bonds that keep them moving forward together; that is what InspirED is all about.
You know that learning is a never-ending endeavor that begins at a very young age. You also know that learning tends to keep us young because the brain is a muscle that needs to be worked if it’s going to stay sharp and strong.
InspirED’s online courses provide more than just ideas and techniques for motivating students; they create a collaborative “think tank” of educators who can add insight and a unique perspective on what methodologies they’ve tried and what they would like to try. We believe that implementation of strategies is made easier with the type of dynamic support system a CTE instructor gets from knowing they have an invaluable resource available to them for asking questions. Physical proximity is no longer a hindrance in the career and technical education teaching field, technology and online professional development courses have made distance obsolete.
Using today’s technology to teach the future thinkers and innovators
In today’s world, filled with gadgets that promote immediate communication, we are hard-pressed to find anyone from Kindergarten to senior citizen without at least one method of access to information at their fingertips. Technology provides a level of accessibility never before seen, making it easier to market programs to attract students to the CTE cluster of career opportunities. It doesn’t stop there, the youth of today need to have a voice in the direction they want to go; at the same time the CTE teacher needs to understand how to meet the needs of all students, at any given intellectual level.
But, let’s say you’re ready to move forward with your progressive methods and are eager to dive in the deep end of online learning; where do you turn to learn about things that have been successful in other places? Now you have the opportunity to bring online professional development to your teachers where they can collaborate with others in the same field of study; giving them a sense of community through online, self-paced programs. They get to expand their horizons, which enables them to expand the horizons of their students; and that makes the CTE Director’s job easier and more productive.
Wise words from the President of the United States
President Barack Obama has directly addressed the importance of finding new and innovative methods for increasing the number of students interested in pursuing STEM careers, as well as, increasing the number and proficiency of our STEM educators. As a CTE Director you are always looking out for your teachers and the students that pass through your classrooms; if you’re thinking about the future, then you’ve got to give your “lone wolf” CTE instructors their best opportunity to learn about today’s InspirED online techniques.
A Student Perspective on Project Based Learning
Project based learning is a different style of teaching than what most “traditional” classrooms use. Instead of being overloaded with homework, tests, and rare projects, STEAM students are given projects to demonstrate learning instead of homework or formal tests. The teachers in STEAM all work together to try and make sure that the projects are connected between two or more subjects. The projects that we do in STEAM are more hands-on and involve more thinking. In the past year we have made fully functioning models, movies, and websites! The projects we do in STEAM allow for more creative freedom, rather than setting an exact format the project should be in.
“Test a fish on his ability to climb a tree, he’ll live his life believing he’s an idiot.” (Albert Einstein). I’ve found project-based learning is more accessible for me and it’s taught me a lot about my learning style. With STEAM classes, I have learned it’s okay to fail and that failing and redesigning is a large part of learning. Our classes fluctuate depending on how quickly or slowly we have grasped a concept. Instead of clinging to one topic for weeks at a time, we work on a topic for a little while, and determined what would be done in class from there. Classes and topics move much faster when the students can show that they know the topic.
-Alexis Cheney, STEAM sophomore, Class of ‘18