Sep 11 2020
In August, SolidProfessor hosted a Virtual Education Summit for educators teaching engineering, architecture, and manufacturing at the K-12 and postsecondary level. The summit included more than 15 sessions from industry experts and seasoned educators alike.
One of the most popular sessions was led by Phillip Ureno, an engineering instructor at Trabuco Hills High School in Orange County, California. With a teaching career that spans nearly two decades, Ureno has taught everything from architecture and engineering to Photoshop and business.
Ureno has developed his own hands-on, high school engineering curriculum that engages his students and draws out their creativity year-after-year. He considers his curriculum to be “living” because it’s constantly evolving to keep pace with changes in the industry.
In Ureno’s session at the SolidProfessor Virtual Education Summit, he covered the five steps you can implement in your classroom — whether they’re taking place in-person, hybrid, or at a distance — to keep students engaged and highly skilled.
When it comes to teaching students CAD and engineering methods, you can’t just have a “set it and forget it” curriculum. If you want to properly prepare your students for in-demand careers, it’s essential that they have the skill sets employers are actually looking for today. Simply put, if you’re teaching your students old processes, they won’t be prepared for the real-world.
Here are a few ways Ureno recommends instructors keep up with what’s happening in the industry:
Ureno teaching a student at Trabuco Hills High School. Photo credit: Phillip Ureno.
When you have a handle of what’s going on with the latest software, techniques, and newsworthy innovations, you can incorporate that knowledge into your instruction and projects.
First and foremost, Ureno believes that you should identify your personal strengths as an instructor and then lean into it. For example, if you have a background in product engineering, consider building your curriculum around that. If you’re engaged, your students will be engaged, too. Your knowledge of the subject matter will be infectious.
Students will work harder and get more out of class if they enjoy being there. It’s important to find the right balance between being professional and fun. Here are some of the ways Ureno strikes this delicate balance:
Every instructor knows that creating a curriculum takes a lot of time, especially if you’re trying to update it every year to keep up with the industry (see step no. 1). However, Ureno strongly encourages educators to borrow from what already exists and then adjust it to meet the needs of your class. This method frees you up to become a facilitator. Here are a few of Ureno’s favorite resources for online courses, projects, and curriculum:
Once you have a plan for how you’re going to achieve steps one through four, it’s time to put it into action!
Watch the full session led by engineering instructor Phillip Ureno on our YouTube channel.
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SolidProfessor content writer and self-appointed World’s Greatest Dog Mom