- Converting career and technical education classes to online learning challenges teachers and students, but educators at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, a public CTE-focused school in Massachusetts, have figured out ways to shape lessons into hands-on learning from a distance, The Atlantic reports.
- At Essex Tech, an environmental science and technology class transformed a scheduled field trip to look for beach debris into a neighborhood litter-collecting scavenger hunt for trash that could hurt marine life. Also, cosmetology students were given mannequin heads, color mixing bowls and hair clips so students can practice at home.
- Veterinarian students are watching live webcams from zoos and pet day care centers to improve their ability to observe, while culinary arts students are tasked with interviewing family members about favorite recipes, writing essays on them and then videoing themselves making the dishes.
Essex Tech had the resources to quickly convert the curriculum to online learning because students had 1:1 technology, allowing school leadership to focus its energy on creating new expectations for teachers and students.
While not every CTE school has these types of resources, many educators are finding creative ways to adapt through lesson and idea sharing. Also, the lessons learned now through online school may later assist schools that lack resources for CTE buildings and equipment.
In parts of the country, CTE teachers are developing novel approaches to online learning as well. Nursing teachers are creating videos of themselves giving dolls baths to demonstrate bed bathing techniques. Ed tech providers are also pitching in to help, including VRTEX Virtual Welding Simulator that is providing free online resources during the COVID-19 crisis.
In some states, such as Colorado, small group instruction is now allowed for certain types of CTE courses. Welding is an example of a class that requires hands-on learning, but the protective gear worn by students and the nature of the practice makes for relatively easy social distancing, teachers say.