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New ways of delivering the trades and technology education to prepare students for a changing world

| Categories: Digital Literacy

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From working with metal and wood to programming robotics, designing buildings and producing the text, graphics and images for printed yearbook, Vancouver Technical Secondary's Applied Design Skills and Technologies Department (ADST) is a mix of traditional and modern technologies.

Students still receive hands-on experience with saws, welding machines, drafting pencils and tools to fix cars, but Tech-Ed classes also incorporate computer skills, problem-solving and end-to-end project sequencing. For example, a student in a woodworking class may also be in a graphic design or game coding class.

"It used to be called shop or industrial education," explains ADST Department Head Nigel Reedman. "Of course, trades people are still in high demand, but what we are teaching now, is a new combination of traditional hands-on skills with modern technologies."

An example of this blend can be found in wood or metal manufacturing processes where the tools are primarily the same as they were in the past, but the user does not have to manually adjust levers and dials to make the machines move. Now, the student would have an understanding of how the machine works in terms of speed and operability, but the programming is done using computers.

"It's really important that students learn about the old-world processes and technologies," adds Reedman. "But, we are really teaching the students about problem solving and computer processing abilities. With mixing the technologies, students do not just push buttons – they also learn about all the necessary steps to make a machine work or complete a project."

"It's amazing to have access to such a wide range of elective programs that enhance different areas of interests, which allows us to experience new and traditional skills," says Grade 12 student Jenna Wong. "I personally love getting my hands dirty in automotive class while also experimenting with digital media design in graphics class."

More than 800 students in grades eight to 12 are part of the Applied Design Skills and Technologies classes at Vancouver Technical Secondary.

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