Monday, February 17, 2020

Hands-On CTE in a Virtual World

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month.  Students who live in Bismarck have access to multiple CTE programs at the Career Academy, Technical Center, and our three high schools.  However, what about students who live in rural North Dakota? Do they not deserve quality CTE programs also? Many North Dakota rural schools do provide various courses in some CTE programs such as Family Consumer Science, Agriculture, and Business, but what about Aviation, Engineering, Health Sciences (Medical), Marketing, Graphic Arts/Photography, or Information Technology?

The Central Regional Area Career and Technical Center (CRACTC), is a collaborative CTE virtual center between Bismarck Public Schools and the Central Regional Education Association (CREA; formerly MREC & MDEC).  The program began 12 years ago as a grant from the State Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department as a grant to Bismarck Public Schools. BPS District leadership at that time had the vision and foresight to realize the need for expanding CTE opportunities was as much a regional concern, as it was local.  Leadership began a partnership with the local regional education association (REA), the Missouri River Educational Cooperative (MREC), to help develop, expand, and enhance CTE programming within the south central region of ND.

Since its inception, the CRACTC has expanded to 42 member public high schools and four private high schools in central North Dakota, ranging from Bowbells which connects with the Canadian border, down to Ashley who connects with the South Dakota border; the CRACTC membership covers over 17,000 square miles!  Currently we are serving over 620 students within 47 different high schools throughout North Dakota, within 39 different course offerings, including BHS, CHS, and LHS utilizing the online Medical Terminology course and a few other offerings when scheduling conflicts occur. The virtual center courses are a hybrid approach with most content occurring online or over ITV, with face-to-face learning opportunities to apply the content learned online, complete industry certification requirements, and/or career exploration opportunities for students within the program areas of Agriculture, Aviation, Family Consumer Science, Graphic Arts/Photography, Health Sciences, Information Technology, Marketing, and Technology & Engineering.  Here's a look at the 2020-2021 CRACTC program course catalog.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do you see as some of the larger challenges of teaching an online or ITV class where students are at a distance or not physically in the same room?
  2. What are some of the scheduling or other benefits of online classes for students?
  3. How can meaningful student feedback be given within an online class?
  4. How could Career Ready Practices (soft skills) be applied within an online/ITV course?
  5. What ways could be used to encourage student discussion and participation with an online class?
  6. What classroom resources/teaching tools could be utilized in an ITV and/or online class to increase student engagement and/or teacher-student interaction?

No comments:

Post a Comment