Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 14, 2014

Engineering/technology programs prepare students


The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Over the many decades, the field of engineering and technology education has seen its share of program titles and curriculum being changed in order to meet the needs of society, reports Craig Hughes, Batesville High School teacher.

From manual arts, industrial arts, industrial technology, technology education and, currently, engineering and technology education (ETE), the evolution of the field continues to grow and adapt to student needs.

The ETE program at BHS strives to prepare students for college and career readiness as well as enhance technological literacy for secondary level students. Technological literacy, not to be confused with computer literacy, is the ability to use, manage, assess and understand technology.

Within the technology umbrella, the major content areas focused on are communication technology, construction technology, manufacturing technology, transportation technology, biotechnology and engineering. A person who is technologically literate understands, in increasingly sophisticated ways that evolve over time, what technology is, how it is created and how it shapes society and in turn is shaped by society.

At BHS, Project Lead the Way is a pre-engineering program taught in order to prepare students for engineering and/or technology-based education and careers. A sequence of four courses is being taught, consisting of introduction to engineering design (IED), principles of engineering (POE), civil engineering and architecture (CEA) and engineering design and development (EDD).

The IED course teaches students about design, the design process and how ideas are communicated and fabricated into products for use. Students learn to use computer-aided design (CAD) software, called Autodesk Inventor, in order to complete many of their projects such as reverse engineering, modeling a miniature train with animation and participating in a virtual design challenge with students from other schools.

The POE course focuses on a range of topics for various engineering fields, such as simple machines, electricity, thermodynamics, statics, materials, machine control, fluid power, statistics and projectile motion. It prepares students for the postsecondary mathematics and problem solving challenges they will encounter in an engineering or engineering technology based major.

CEA allows students to explore the fields of civil engineering and architecture through activities related to residential design, design of commercially constructed structures, structural engineering and project development for communities. Students utilize a CAD program called Autodesk Revit Architecture in order to develop and document designs for their projects.

EDD resembles a college-level research and design capstone course that allows for an open-ended design challenge to be explored. Students select their own project that focuses on developing an innovation to a problem where students research patents, design a solution, prototype their solution, test and evaluate the proposed solution and present their findings on the results.

All PLTW courses are dual credited through Ivy Tech.

Along with PLTW, BHS has adopted the Hire Technology Program to deliver concepts associated with advanced manufacturing and logistics. The introduction to advanced manufacturing and logistics course provides dual credit opportunities for students as well as three industry certifications. Students explore concepts related to automation and robotics, CNC technology, quality control, safety, logistics, operations and basic business principles. Promoted by Gov. Mike Pence, this program seeks to revitalize manufacturing in Indiana by preparing students with the skills they need to be successful when working in an advanced manufacturing environment.

Introduction to construction is a stand-alone course offered in the ETE program in order to teach students the facets of construction technology. Students learn about use of tools, processes, architectural design and building construction materials and methods to produce structures.

This program has seen great support from local organizations and industries in Batesville with generous contributions for advancing the educational opportunities for students. Batesville Community Education Foundation, Hillenbrand Inc., the John W. Hillenbrand Vision Fund for Quality Education Fund and the Bemis Co. have been very influential in providing competitive grant funds toward the purchase of equipment and supplies.