Using computers in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classrooms offers the educational benefits you might expect, but it also introduces unique challenges that educators and administrators must address – like internet safety, environmental sustainability and IT management. In this blog, we examine each challenge and how solutions like Impero Education Pro address these challenges for CTE classrooms.
Consider this example from a graphic communications instructor:
“My classroom/print shop is five times the size of a typical high school room. With 18 computer stations, 5 high end digital printers, multiple handheld digital devices, and a full screen printing and sign making shop all in one location, it is nearly impossible for me to monitor everything that my students are doing online. And because my program intends to resemble an actual workplace, I expect my students to have access to any and all websites pertaining to the job of being a graphic designer and printer. For me, blocking websites is a nuisance because vital resources are restricted such as font downloads and instant messaging services like Skype, used to communicate with clients and vendors. We produce products and services for real customers with real deadlines. There’s no time to wait for an IT professional to unblock a site, or money to waste on frivolous printing. I worry about what my students do online, but I worry more about whether or not I am preparing them properly for their future careers.”
Sound familiar? This same story could easily apply to a welding, auto body, engineering, health sciences, or any vocational classroom. The typical CTE class has 20+ students in a classroom, computer lab, and shop area. Sometimes these rooms are connected, but often they are separate. With one teacher to monitor everything that is going on with electronic devices, there is a serious need for remote monitoring that doesn’t restrict the productivity of students. How can CTE teachers keep students safe while training their students to be college- and career-ready?
Another challenge is environmental sustainability. The Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) states, “Environmental sustainability is not only best practice, but a deep reflection of the values of the CTE community, the guarantee of a safe future for the planet and a key component of its economic future.” Career tech classrooms have the potential to cause major pollution from carbon emissions if not monitored properly. Having solutions in place for print management, energy usage control and computer inventory management is just the right thing to do.
The final challenge is providing IT support for the high volume of devices. More often than not, the IT professional who services the career center is the same person who takes care of the entire district. With the CTE classroom having a significantly higher volume of computers, web traffic and printers than the traditional class, the IT director can be called dozens of times in a day. This distracts from class time and can be overwhelming for IT.
Having a product in place that solves all these challenges at once can provide peace of mind for IT directors, teachers and students alike. Impero Education Pro keeps tabs on printers, computers and energy use, giving the instructor the ability to focus on training their young “employees” to meet competencies and pass certifications.
By monitoring internet use rather than blocking it, keeping track of energy use, and making IT simpler, Education Pro allows the student the freedom to access all the tools necessary to do work that trains for a real profession, which creates empowerment and accountability. As any CTE instructor will attest, giving a student trust can transform even the most unruly young adult into a strong, responsible person who is prepared for the real world. This is the true goal of career education, and we at Impero support that 100 percent.