International Day of Education

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Image shows man standing writing on a Smartboard while students watch via a nearby computer.

Today is International Day of Education and, of course, we’re all for celebrating anything to do with education!

This year, two of the official focuses for the day are: learning heroes and innovations. We truly believe that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all our faculty and employees have been learning heroes, finding innovative ways to ensure our students get the education they need. We’d like to share a story of one of just one of these learning heroes – Electrician instructor Kevin Szol.

When the pandemic hit, courses at College of the Rockies had to be offered in a new way. Those that included significant hands-on learning, like the skilled Trades, were especially challenged to ensure students could connect with the material – and with each other.

Though the use of technology to enhance online learning experience is not new at the College, it has typically not been used for the skilled Trades programs. Kevin Szol wanted to provide as much of a classroom-like experience for the theoretical components of the Electrical program as possible. He knew if they were able to see each other’s faces on screen, it would allow them to take advantage of the non-verbal communication that usually takes place in person.

Thanks to Kevin’s willingness to incorporate the technical tools available at the College, Electrician students can watch in real time as Kevin explains concepts and see the additional Smartboard and two whiteboards he uses in the course of his presentations. The classroom document camera allows Kevin to show students physical items like fuses, breaker panels, etc., as he describes them.

“We usually pass these items around for students to examine,” Kevin said. “This is the next best thing to being able to do that. I also use the camera to demonstrate the use of advanced functions on our calculators which can be confusing for students. The camera allows them to see the calculation being done on the very same device they are using.”

With the capability of recording the entire lecture, Kevin posts his presentations online for his pupils to access.

“Students have the ability to review all, or portions, of the lecture whenever they wish. This is a huge benefit for the learner,” he said.

The Electrician program, as with all skilled Trades training, still includes hands-on practical learning. This is done with small numbers of students at a time, following all Provincial Health Officer guidelines.

Thanks to Kevin’s willingness to embrace the technology available and dedication to providing the most typical classroom environment possible, he continues to provide the knowledge and skills needed by our region’s future electricians.

This International Day of Education, we thank Kevin, and all College of the Rockies faculty, for their tireless work to ensure our students still have access to the best educational opportunities possible.