Student project aims at recruiting future technology professionals

Student project aims at recruiting future technology professionals
Posted on 04/11/2018
EAST Tech Camp plannersThe Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) program at Northeast Tech’s Claremore Campus is a unique program that uses project-based learning to train students for technology careers. But because that description – and even the program name – does little to explain what actually happens inside the classroom, a group of students has decided to tackle that challenge with a creative project.

“We wanted to give younger kids an early understand of what CareerTech learning is, EAST in particular,” said Chelsea student Zach Abbott. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what we do and it's hard to explain in five minute tours.”

The tours Abbott references are those that happen twice a year at the Northeast Tech campuses. Sophomore and eighth grade students from the local sending schools are bussed to the campuses to visit the programs and learn more about the training available at Northeast Tech.

“My first impression when touring as a sophomore was that this was a computer class where they give you a book to teach you the program,” said Verdigris student Tanner Hess. “I was completely wrong. EAST is all self-directed learning, and because we do so much community work, we’re forced to learn different skills to meet client needs.”

Concerned that some students may be missing out on what the EAST program has to offer, Abbott and Hess, along with their classmates Zane Geoffry and Austin Dick, decided to create an event to specifically bridge that knowledge gap.

“We came up with the idea of hosting an all-day camp where we can teach middle school students some of the programs and technology we use in EAST,” Hess said. “We will get them acquainted with the basic tools we use in this program, and let them have hands-on experience with the technology.”

Known as the EAST Tech Camp, the event will take place May 29-June 1. The camp will last from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and participants will receive step-by-step instruction on a variety of subjects.

“We will be hosting what are basically workshops where we present information and walk them step-by-step through different projects,” said Hess. “Lightroom, Photoshop, Tinkercad and Garage Band are some of the software we’ll cover, along with coding and RGIS.”

The target audience for the camp is middle school students in the sixth through eighth grades, and the four camp planners have been making presentations at local schools to recruit camp participants. In doing so, they learned one important lesson.

“We told students that to register for the camp, they needed to fill out the form and go through their counselor. The problem was that we forgot to tell the school counselors,” Hess said. “That was a critical mistake.”

The boys corrected their error with a letter to the middle school counselors explaining their project along with the application process. Still learning themselves, they were grateful for the patience shown to them in spite of their error.

“Thankfully, we don’t get one single grade for a project,” said Hess. “Grades are more about doing the work, being consistent and making progress toward your goal.”

Applications are beginning to roll in for the camp, and all four of the event planners are hoping for a good turnout.

“Even if students are a little interested, or think they might want to enroll, this is a good way to try it,” Hess said. “It will be a good way for kids to figure out if they want to do any of the careers we train for in EAST, and it will give them experience with the technology we use every day on our projects.”

For more information about the EAST Tech Camp, contact EAST Instructor Brook Easton at 918-342-8066 or brook.easton@netech.edu. The camp is free, lunch will be provided, and transportation will be available from the participant’s sending school to and from the Northeast Tech Claremore Campus.
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