Contextualized Learning in Water and Wastewater Treatment CTE Michael Fritschi, PE, Grade V WWTPO “Relating instructional content to the specific contexts of students lives and interests increases interest and motivation to learn” (Dirkx and Prenger 97’) Abstraction and manipulation of symbols and theory often lead to de-contextualized learning. Removing the “detachment” of information from the real world can be accomplished by removing traditional academic abstractions. (Re-phrased from Resnick 87’) Introduction/Mechanics: WAT-100 – Introduction to Water and Wastewater Treatment WAT-180 – Analytical Methods in Water and Wastewater Systems Application Oriented (nuts/bolts): WAT-140 – Operation of Drinking Water Systems WAT-160 – Operation of Wastewater Systems Involves the student by combining Content with Context using authentic industry materials and standards. Use real-life resources and scenarios for learning Integrate existing skill sets into learning and performing new skills Providing and applying multiple alternatives for solving problems Students gain understanding through the mechanical process problem solving The purpose of course material is understood. The transfer of knowledge is efficient and immediately apparent. Student interest is maintained. Inspiration – Encouraging participation Presentation – “Lively Lecture” Demonstration – Mechanics Intellectual process integrated with application Decision making skills Culmination – Class Projects and Internships Encourage students to integrate their own personal practical backgrounds. Real World Job Flyers Define skill sets and ranges of compensation Congratulate Lecture Discussions Build on existing skill-sets Small successes or mini-victories Recognize these students publically Keep it light – Keep it fun! Relevant lecture topics. Images of the subject matter in industry Tie learning into “real-life”. Cut sheets from equipment manufacturers Drag equipment into the class room Take less notes Take a more active part in the lecture Intonation of key phrases Relate personal industry experience to the subject matter “why do we do this?” Anecdotes Keep the lecture “light” and energetic Reiterate in different scenarios Mechanical Application Fun Show interest Key phrases or information what students can expect in the industry “most folks really do it this way” Follow-up Quizzes Question and Answer Preparation for field trips Allow a “background knowledge” Illustrate the decision making process Analytical analysis tied to concrete methodology System knowledge & Established goals. Fall 2009 & Spring 2010 WAT-180 Class statistics 65.2% of the students have not taken a math class in over 10 years Of those students, 63.3% have not taken a math class in over 20+ years. Water and Wastewater Operations requires alot of math! “ Non-Hate able” Math Just need a “Y” Applied math Relate and accept discomfort Low Theory – High practicality Remove the anxiety by mechanical practice (repetition) Find the Fun!! Technical Apparatus Calculator recommendation, low cost Acceptable for certification exams advanced enough for square roots, parenthesis, exponent, pi button. Anecdotes used for teaching math “Mike’s rule”, “Ted’s method” “Area = bore * bore *0.785” 454 g /LB = “454 Chevy Big Block” Dimensional analysis – lifelong tool Puts the power in the hands of the student Projects –“apply what you have learned” Summarization of learning experience Ability to apply knowledge Internships – “apply what you have learned in the real world” Ultimate Application of CTE Students can relate their own experience Bring their experience into the classroom Students learn from supervisors and co-workers WAT-100 Basin Plan WAT-180 Process Analysis WAT 140 & WAT 160 Water and Wastewater State Exams Requires student to arrange and visit a water or wastewater treatment facility Requires student to identify the primary process components of the treatment facility How the components of the treatment facility function with each other process Requires the student to pick one process and evaluate Process objective Inputs and outputs How the process is controlled What process data is relevant? Ramifications of the process in success and failure Requires student to research the North Coast Basin Plan. Student prepares a paper in their own words, that discusses selected topics covered in the research. The goal is to teach the student through their own efforts Student gains a basic understanding of relevant information that directly impacts the water quality industry. Prepare and take State Certification Exams Encouraged to join professional organizations (network) CWEA-California Water Environment Association AWWA – American Water Works Association Industry Conferences Industry Specialized Training Sessions In-depth “nuts and bolts” of operations Will try to place every student locally that has passed WAT-100 & WAT-180 Classes Designed to get students experience in the field An additional dimension to the learning experience Provide a basis for discussion in WAT-140 & WAT-160 classes CTE Students respond best to applied concepts rather than abstract ideas Apply context to content through mechanical process Utilize Existing Skill-Sets Culmination Bring in projects and internships Industry Into the Classroom!