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Tech Ed. speaks on impact of virtual school

The decision to go fully virtual at Shawano Community High School has made a big impact on the Tech Ed. department. This department includes Mr. Jeremy Hodkiewicz (Automotive), Mrs. Stacey Homan (Graphic Arts), Mr. Jason Eggert (Welding/Machining), and Mr. Greg Brown (Wood Manufacturing).

“Being a hands-on instructor, trying to teach what would normally be taught hands-on as classroom lessons is challenging,” said Mr. Hodkiewicz. “Now being all virtual, we can’t even do it as a good demonstration. It has to be done on video.”

Virtual learning has proven challenging across the department.

“With my classes hands-on, it’s been a huge struggle,” claimed Mrs. Homan. “I have had to work really hard to get my Graphics kids laptops right now so they can work on stuff at home.”

Since changing from the one day a week schedule, Mr. Eggert has had to make changes to how he teaches his classes.

“When we were coming one day a week, I did more of my bookwork style lessons through the Google Classroom. Then the one day that students came, we would use it all for lab time,” explained Mr. Eggert. “Now that we are all virtual, I try to send out plenty of videos and stuff like that to keep the students engaged.”

Like many teachers this year, the Tech Ed. department uses online resources to help their students learn.

“We use the Miller Welding site a lot,” said Mr. Eggert. “There’s also some people on YouTube that have some really good videos as well.”

Like Mr. Eggert, Mr. Hodkiewicz has his students learning through online programs as well.

“We do some of our work through the Ford ACE program as well as a program through Briggs and Stratton, which is called PowerPortal,” said Mr. Hodkiewicz. “These are both industry technician programs that technicians out in the real world would use for training.”

Virtual schooling in Tech Ed. has also proven difficult for students.

“It’s definitely a learning curve to try and figure out. Just understanding what way students need to keep themselves organized and how they approach their assignments,” said Mrs. Homan.

Mr. Hodkiewicz questions the benefit students are getting from the virtual environment in Tech Ed.

“We all understand that this is not ideal, and it was nice when we were at least one day a week so they could get some hands-on

time. It is hard to tell if the students are truly benefitting from this virtual environment,” said Mr. Hodkiewicz.

Mr. Eggert’s metal shop. Photo courtesy of Mr. Hodkiewicz.

Through it all, teachers of Tech Ed. hope that students will gain some benefit from the virtual standpoint.

“My goal is to have enough of the stuff covered that if we do get back we would be able to jump right into the labs,” said Mr. Eggert. “Obviously they will be a little behind, but machines set up wise, safety wise, and processes wise they should have all that stuff covered.”

Teaching Tech Ed. virtually has proven to be a true struggle. Across all departments, it has been a struggle transitioning into virtual schooling. It is up to teachers and students to make the necessary adjustments to make it successful.