Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

Why would I want to be an Automotive Technician?

February 20, 2013

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Picture from; http://tinyurl.com/6huzch5

A lot of people are telling young people that they should be anything but an auto technician or be in the auto industry at all.  Many private collages promote automotive careers that pay well but with huge student loans. Most students are not aware that great opportunity’s with OEMS are sometimes fully funded if they are qualified.  Sure in some areas Micky D’s pays more to start, but what will you be doing next year or the years after? ( http://autop.ro/3Kr ) and they furnish tools and such to flip burgers and teach you to ask if they want fries with that.
Many dealerships don’t know where the nearest auto training school or technical college is at, as they are so focused on sales.  Nor do the local auto teachers know who or how to to talk to the business so they can have a business and educational beneficial relationship. Somehow we need to fix this gap in communication.

Sadly our industry’s workers are getting older as we speak  and with technology exceeding the wildest predictions of the engineers that create driver less cars and exotic powered engines we need younger, smarter technicians to service the vehicles of tomorrow right now!

Many criticize the current trend to get students into the auto industry via low tech positions. Sir Ken Robinson points out the deficiency of of current educational system in this TED talk. many of his points are very relevant to a hands on approach to learning.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

Be sure to watch Sir Ken’s other talks to understand his focus.

Many drop outs are prime candidates for the hands on training required to “Fix things” in many areas of expertise.

Here is what started this dialogue; please do not read this blog with out reading James’ story!

Wired Mag Article on James Hamilton, who started as an auto mechanic.  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/02/james-hamilton-amazon/

I asked James a question in this email;

Hi James, I read the wired article that said you started as an auto mechanic.

 My biggest challenge today is to get young people to consider a career as an auto technician. We have programs to start them but the student or the parent does not see the future in being a technician as rewarding. Could I have your thoughts on this?
I know your time is very valuable.
Thank you,
James replied;

“I might understand why some folks might find automotive technician less exciting than, say, fighter pilot. But when it comes to rewarding and to thinking through whether automotive technician is a rewarding role, I would say two things: 1) What is truly unrewarding is to not have a job and 2) what you learn as a mechanic can be applied and remain useful for entire lifetime. I learned an incredible amount as an automotive mechanic and I’m really happy I made that choice back when I was 17. Getting through an formal apprenticeship and becoming a licensed mechanic taught me the discipline and the focus to succeed at that role and gave me the confidence to take on others. The skills I learned at 17, I still apply today.
I see resumes all the time that have periods where the candidate was unemployed or weren’t challenging themselves and weren’t learning. It’s a mistake.” end of quote.

I know my personal journey was difficult and not of the standard of the day. I struggled with learning in traditional school after the 8th grade and dropped out after the ninth (see the blog http://semperfigeorgia.wordpress.com/for details)  trade school or Technical school/college as it is now was my salvation. Growing up on a farm and hating it was what drove me to cars and working on them, I wanted to learn to fix them so I could go somewhere I was not. The local junkyard with it’s old cars was much more exciting than hoeing a pea field all day in the hot sun. Having a car as a teenager gave me a power I could relate to.  I took the road less traveled and never looked  in the rear view mirror.

Regrets I have a few but that which is with out repair is without regard! I would rather be a happy ditch digger than an unhappy king.

Create, Share, Enjoy!

AYES, Automotive Yes! Why should I have an AYES program?

August 23, 2011

Automotive Youth Educational Systems and School to Career Opportunities.

When we go to purchase something like a automobile we look for the features and benefits. If the car does not have the features I want or require, then I may not buy the car. Here is a story tellers view of the question “Why should I have an AYES program ?”

A new dealership had opened and I wanted to meet the owner to let him know about my AYES program www.ayes.org; so I called for an appointment after school so I could stop by on my way home. The new dealership was expansive,  high tech, and geared for sales and service with all operations in one location.   The old one he had bought out was small and family owned. The new dealership was a GM franchise. I have students at another GM dealership nearby in another city. The day of the appointment I arrived fifteen minutes early, presented my card and asked the receptionist to tell Mr. Dealer I was there for our 4:30 appointment.

see https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2009/11/ for this  story on Advisory Committee building.

I wandered around the showroom and when the sales people found out I was not buying they immediately ignored me. After about an hour a person came out and handed me a check for $50.00 made out to the school. I said “What’s this?” and was told that was the amount they gave to schools as they assumed I was here about the Yearbook. I quickly explained this was not my purpose, as I handed back the check and began explaining my AYES program to the owner. He, then, introduced me to all the key staff. The dealership and I began a long and mutually beneficial relationship where we placed many students through the years. Eventually all the dealerships in that small county were on the Advisory Committee. Did the owners show up at all the meetings? No. Did some one from the dealership attend? Not always, but enough came to where I always had enough to do business. Would they have attended if all I had done was call on the phone or write a letter? No.

This is one the major benefits of an AYES program. The development of a active Business and Education Advisory Committee is so much easier with the power of AYES. While NATEF accreditation validates your program, AYES gives you the relationships to open doors at the dealerships. When I first attended an AYES conference Don Gray was speaking on the value of relationships and I being new to AYES followed his plan to build relationships so that my students would benefit.  “It is all about relationships” Don Gray

I can make a call or an email to the key people at our OEM partners of AYES and have someone that knows me, has a interest in our interns and possibly help with the hiring of the intern by a reluctant dealership. The relationships we build at our conferences and meetings is priceless in today’s employment market.

We could look at the tangible features of AYES like the resources of OEM service and training. Online we have the latest service information and finest training from the partners of AYES. Our partners also open their training centers doors for AYES instructors each summer on a space available basis so that we can obtain our 40 hours of Service Training. Honda has for several years set aside a week for instructors to train at their Southeast Training Center. I used the Honda curriculum materials to train a class for one semester. I told the students they were special and this was Honda training developed for them, only this class was privileged to use the training and they respected that by applying themselves to the tasks. Now a few years later those same students that were trained as entry level “Express Service Techs” are at the same dealerships they were interned at and now enjoying gainful employment in their chosen career.

I do feel that the benefit that is worth the most is “intangible” and this benefit relates back to the development and maintenance of the Business and Industry Council. It is through those relationships we build every day as an instructor of an AYES program that our programs grow! Our students are introduced to the world of work, interviewed, job shadow and intern with their mentor at the businesses in our communities. This why we say that AYES is the premier “School to Work Career Model” in the USA.

To learn more about AYES visit http://www.ayes.org   To learn more about NATEF visit http://www.natef.org

AYES Presentation

July 16, 2011

Time Passes Will YouNACAT2011a1

Click on the link above to download the powerpoint of the presentation of “Developing the 21st Century Classroom”

The slides have links embedded for you to click on to learn more about developing your classroom.

Presented at the 2011 AYES conference in Seattle from an earlier presentation at NACAT 2010 and 2009

Constantly updated….stay in touch

Developing a 21st Century Shop Class

August 9, 2009

Pictures from class/lab using Performance based online learning in an automotive program

Students work in teamsFigure from Chassis Class. Students work together in teams of two to four to accomplish tasks in the lab. Practice of tasks and instructor feed back results in ability to master the tasks.
to practice the tasks. The teacher facilitates the learning process.
Teams work with multimedia to create and explore.
Levon went from success at SkillsUSA to a rewarding Career with BMW
Peer Teachers are encouraged

Students use LCD to challange the team to diagnose the vehicle in the classroom

Levon is now at BMW of Macon living his dream of being a certified BMW Technician and not yet 21yrs old.
Students have 24/7 access to Elearning

Students practice the tasks on live vehicles

Figure from Electrical Class. Students use LCD to diagnose the problem of the virtual vehicle simulation online.

These students have ten minutes to fix the problem. Another team can challenge them with the same or similar problem winning the right to be excused from clean up or other spiff. They have already worked this problem on their own as individuals.

Shop/lab time is used to practice, practice and more practice.
The online Argo is true interactive e learning. Not just watching a video or reading a text on a PC.

The virtual car is interactive and can be diagnosed, repaired just like a real vehicle

Figure from Argo Screen shot of virtual DMM used to test the vehicle’s electrical measurements. This virtual meter saves wear and destruction of the real meters and vehicles student will use later in lab
The use of the EDT allows student mistakes without damage to valuable test equipment and vehicles. Students move to live work after practice on the trainer online

This is the goal of the program. To develop life long learners that can have rewarding careers.
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Micheal Alford became a Honda Certified Technician during his Junior-Senior Summer AYES Internship. He is now a Honda Technician at Walsh Honda Macon Georgia
Developing a Shop Class for the 21st Century

“You can do the work of the mind without the hand, but not that of the hand without the mind.” Danish Proverb

This is the way I teach automotive service technology in a Georgia High School secondary program. The program is NATEF Certified and AYES affiliated with good industry support. Currently Georgia requires four areas of NATEF task list to be presented to the student. Most secondary programs do not have the contact hours for more course work. I have four 135 hour semesters and one150 hour summer internship to do this in. If you are post secondary the method will work for you as well. I have taught at the post secondary also using these same methods. This is not the only way or may not be the best way, or it may not meet your teaching style but it works for me. The freedom I have as an instructor, this way of delivering instruction, gives me time to meet more of each student’s learning style is awesome. I like for the students to work and I have fun. If this is practiced in your class/lab and adjusted for your student’s needs then you will become the facilitator instead of the sole fount of all knowledge. Your students will become learners of their own right and you will have fun teaching.

After years of being a shop owner and not knowing a better way, I developed my Automotive class as I would a shop or service center with lots of employees. My class/lab reflects the world of work more than the average academic classroom. As in the workplace assessment is in the finished product. I use a hands-on performance test to prove mastery of the individual student of the task. I feel that the use of this style of rubric empowers the student to become a self learner with critical thinking skills instead of a recorder of facts for memorization and preparing for a pen and paper test.

I begin the class with a demonstration from the class site provided by the online course Argo in the course area of my lesson plan for the week. See https://autoteacher.net/E_Learning.html for examples. All of my lesson plans are on the Georgia Dept of Education Peach State Pathways here: http://www.gactaern.org/curriculum_transsup.html

For example, I may use a web site as a “Spark Plug” for the student to visit while I get the day going. I use a lot of the web sites on the links at:  www.autoteacher.net

I think I could teach for years and not exhaust all the resources in these sites. Our main resource is an online interactive learning management system with courses and modules based on learning by doing instead of reading, watching and listening. The students are assigned interactive modules using virtual vehicle components and engaging course work that requires active movement to progress through the course from beginner level to master level.  Each student has access to our web site and a 24/7 sign in to our custom set up Argo learning management system. Each student can have a separate learning plan or be in a class of students online. The course modules are easy to assign and they will not run out of modules to do online.  Students have access to all classroom resources and all the routine paperwork on the web site or I can download and print out for them the required paperwork for class; examples, Class Handbook, Home work assignments, Shop Rules, etc. See https://autoteacher.net/Class_Papers.html . Even if they don’t have a computer at home they have access to one in the Media Center and of course each student has a computer in the automotive classroom. I burn the syllabus, course description, handbook, homework assignments, and all required papers for the class onto a CD or flash drive for them if they want. Each student has a notebook to keep all class work, research paper work, documentation of lab work and performance tests.

After about 20 minutes of learning using a “Smart Board Sympodium”, LCD projector,  with an online Argo module of my choice (I require notes each day for daily grade) I see eyes are getting sleepy, then I shift gears for the day’s assignment. A set of tasks for each week are assigned to the class which was divided into teams during the first week of school. Tasks are “Performance Tests” and these are NATEF tasks required for the course.  This is “Beginning with the end in mind” by assigning the task to be mastered at the start of the lesson. Students have access to all their Performance Tests online for instruction on their computer. They will be challenged to compete as teams to solve the failure in the virtual vehicle in the online module using the classroom’s LCD and Smart Board. See video at https://autoteacher.net/E_Learning.html

After preparation and practice with the virtual modules online, I will have students in the lab on actual vehicles with failures and problems to solve in their teams. Peer teaching and student sign off of each other’s performance test keeps all active and engaged.  The real world training modules and technical explanations can be absorbed by each learner at their pace. The tests are used as guides for learning, and an Assessment much like a job sheets.  The students print off the Performance Tests/Tasks sheets as needed and keep them in their notebook which remains in the classroom/lab. I have a HP 9015 B&W printer that is cheaper to run than a copier. All class papers and performance tests are on the class server with hard copy files for back up in file cabinet. A quick look at the Argo LMS and I know who needs instructor attention. I can see where all students are at any time during the course on their online course work. I can even see which module is being used and how the student is doing in all of Bloom’s taxonomy. Online assignments can be quickly shifted as some students race ahead while others lag behind.

Teams of students practice the tasks online after a thorough study of theory; then they can practice the tasks in the lab or challenge the other teams in performance of the tasks. Students use video to film their practice and videos are created to demonstrate mastery of the tasks. Creating a video of their work or developing a training module in the lab is very uplifting for students and is the highest learning order for Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I use a simple Performance Evaluation rubric to evaluate the task or set of tasks. I give these Performance Tests to each student during the first week of the semester so they know what they are expected to do. This is the “Beginning with the End in Mind’ way of teaching. The desired outcome is the mastery of the tasks on the Performance Test.  It is important to walk them through the NATEF task list, how to print and use the Job sheets to practice.  The simple assessment form is an adaptable word document, and covers the Job/Tasks similar to how you would actually do the service in a real shop. Example: To service a disc brake I combine the tasks for: Writing a brake repair order, service of the caliper, rotor, wheel bearings and checking pedal height. You need to combine the related tasks into a sequential order to suit your lab and resources. Ask your self how you would do the service on a customer vehicle. Make it real! I like for each student to practice the tasks three times if possible. Each must have a team member sign off that they practiced the task properly with the other student. Then if that student can not meet the performance objective for the teacher’s observation of the task both students are redirected and must practice the tasks until they are successful. The use of a hands-on Performance test meets the requirements of Standard 6 of NATEF Industry Certification. Some students do the tasks very well after much practice. Attitude defines the outcome and student progress is monitored in the lab by teacher observation. Being a facilitator of the learning environment provides you more one-on-one time some of our students need. You have the time to “Differentiate Instruction” and meet all those different learning styles of your students. I feel more learn this way than not. Furthermore, I can prove they know what they are doing when they are done because of the hands on mastery recorded on the Rubric.

Each student keeps up with their tests, supporting documents and records the completion in their notebooks. You sign off after the observation of the student’s final practice. Security is maintained by knowing your students, and having the notebooks to back up what they say they did with Job Sheets signed by you. You will know who is working because now you have time to observe.  I give very few written tests other than practice for the NATEF end of course test and then only to evaluate what I teach in theory.

Do all students complete? Do all learn? Are all engaged? Yes!

You and your administration have to decide. Do you really want it to work or do you just want to pass the time?

Positive comments welcome. E mail or call for more information.

HTH,
Sonny Reeves
sonnyjreeves@hotmail.com
Sonny is an Automotive Educator, Consultant to DOE, Schools, Colleges and Teachers
Sonny has co-owned and managed a Nissan Dealership; owned a NAPA Auto Care Service Center, and has been teaching Automotive Service Technology for fifteen years at the secondary level and two years post secondary. Sonny is currently an AYES instructor at his second Career Center in a NATEF certified program. He is ASE Master Certified (1975) and a NATEF ETL since 2000. In 2001 Sonny became an AYES instructor and was selected school system Teacher of the Year in 2003 and 2008 by two different school systems. His program was recognized by AIPC and ASE in 2003.