Education Matters: Creating hands-on learning outside the classroom


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Career tech education is all about hands-on learning, but how can students gain that experience when they aren’t in class?

Looking around the shop at Fresno’s CTEC High School you can see it’s a place where students build things – but the work stations are empty.

“When we designed and developed CTEC to be a school that was going to be hands-on and project-based – and finding ourselves in a pandemic our biggest goal our main priority was to make sure we didn’t lose that,” said Director Jonathan Delano.

Fresno County’s Career Technical Education Charter High School is working hard to make sure its students do not miss out on the hands on experience due to distance learning.

“It’s just thinking outside the box with everything that we’re doing to make sure kids have the opportunity to engage with that hands-on component.”

A good example is the project students are working on in Steven Matthews’ intro to construction class.

“If we can get them to class they will learn how to use all the tools in the shop but how to read a tape measure how to use a speed square the basics,” said Matthews.

Even though it’s a freshman class project, every student in the school is participating. They are using their skills to build a simple desk. They don’t have all the tools at home so CTEC supplies what they need.

This teacher works hard to reach his students and makes home videos to show them how to use certain tools.

As a freshman, 14-year-old Jacob Delano says this isn’t what he was expecting. His home has now become a shop – but he says it’s worked surprisingly well.

“It makes it so we, for me at least, it seems like I’ve been able to go at my own pace more when I’ve been by myself because it doesn’t feel like I’m in a classroom and I have to catch up with everyone.”

Like other career tech programs, CTEC High is working through this pandemic – but everyone from teacher to student wants to be back in class.

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