Best practices to CTE are like Fish to Water…they are a necessity for survival! Best practices of any kind are tested, tried and true, meaning they are sound and grounded in research. They are practices that impact positive change, growth and intellectual tenacity. TechTarget defines “best practices” as a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. In CTE, the desired results are best accomplished through an intentional and purposeful commitment. Be willing to delve into the best practices based on business, industry and educational trends using all the knowledge and technology available to ensure success, which is our survival. A promising best practice (technology tool) to be integrated in CTE pathways such as Programming, Automotive, and Healthcare Science is Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications.
Imagine changing the traditional teacher-student relationships; imagine technology that allows “the teacher to take students to places a school bus could never go, with panaromas and points of interest to make it easy for them to integrate it into existing curriculum and bring lessons to life" (TechEd); and imagine CTE concepts and tasks in an environment where a real life problem to be solved or investigated is enhanced by virtual elements in real time. Lastly, imagine the profound impact on the way we interact with technology and the way we do our jobs for many years to come (EdTech Trends).
So what is the purpose of VR/AR? The research presents us with these ideas: changing the learning environment by enhancing the information we naturally receive through our five senses, by adding superimposed, constructed virtual elements to bring complementary information and meaning that may not be possible to see by natural means. VR/AR creates an interactive environment between computer system and user bringing to life abstract concepts to enhance understanding. While you delve into the best practices for VR/AR technologies, resources that will allow you to continue the conversation and possible implementation in your school district or CTE classrooms are EdTech, Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder, Verizon, Unity Software and innovators Dieter Schmalstieg and Daniel Wagner.
We have an intentional and purposeful commitment in CTE. Best practices in CTE are bigger than searching for Pokémon…search for the tools, technologies and concepts that truly prepare our students to be critical thinkers, problems-solvers, and positive and productive members of the global workforce…it remains true - CTE MATTERS!
By Eboni Camille Chillis, PhD
Coordinator of Career, Technical & Agricultural Education
Clayton County Public Schools