Monday, 10 December 2012

Final Self-Assessment for PIDP 3240 Social Media Assignment #4 Blog

PIDP 3240 Social Media
Blog site  (A Career in Aircraft Maintenance)
Assignment #4 Resource Blog Self- Assessment
Before the start of this PID I was quite apprehensive about the topics we were to cover during the 8 weeks.  Although I was comfortable on the computer and use one every day, my experience with blogs and wikis was nil.  That being said, I come from a background in aircraft maintenance and on an almost daily basis I was confronted by technical snags for which I had no immediate answer.  I would study the faults, read the manuals, consult co-workers and inevitably get the problem resolved.  Dealing with blogs and wikis could not be any worse; in fact I could be warm and dry with a hot pot of coffee at home while I figured it all out.
Once I began the process of assignments #3 and #4, my worries faded away and I realized how simple creating this site was.  All the information and tips were on-line, usually via YouTube.  I thoroughly enjoyed creating my blog and in fact had to stop myself from going in and tweaking it daily, changing this and that.  I found it simple to use, edit and post information, no worse than the PowerPoint’s I create for my own classes.  I found myself thinking often about information and saying “Oh yeah, this would be great on my blog”.
I quite enjoyed watching Ray Tessiers’ blog.  This wasn’t just because we both teach at BCIT Aerospace, but more due to the fact the Ray had a completely different career in aviation than I did. I enjoyed watching his site grow, seeing the photos and having a peek into what his experience was like in aviation, except from a military background.  I enjoyed watching what he included of value and comparing it to what I put an emphasis on for content.  I also liked Emeldas’ blog because we chatted often about the technical issues she was having and her fear of the computer.  I encouraged her to keep chipping away at it, telling her that before this course I had never worked on a wiki or a blog either.  I felt comfortable on the computer and perusing the internet, so it was interesting and rewarding to see Emeldas’ blog grow as she figured things out.
I see the blog being used as a motivational tool for the students and a source for additional information I may not have time to provide in class.  I encouraged my students to visit the blog and let me know what they thought.  I included photos from my career and interesting video links about gas turbine engines and aircraft.  Aviation is such a huge, broad industry that graduates could end up working in places and on machines they could never have predicted in school.  My ten years as a mechanic and supervisor in the industry was short compared to most of my peers, but I enjoyed it from start to finish.  I wanted to try capture some of this in the blog.  When a student asks me what fishing has to do with working on airplanes?  I know they have checked out my site.  Then there is a story to every picture. 
Many students are still unsure as they close in on graduation whether they will even work in the industry!  Some are taking the education just to appease parents; others haven’t yet decided where they will focus their job hunt or if they want to travel away from the city for work.   My hope is that the blog will provide them with a little window into my career and how much fun I had, the experiences I gained by not being afraid to travel around.  They are after all going into an AVIATION career!  As well, posting different links for work resources, educational material and maybe given the time a current events area could all serve the purpose of helping students learn more and discover more about their chosen career path than I can possibly teach them in class.
As my blog grows, I would like to include video of assignments from the course I teach.  Once again, given the time I would enjoy recording an engine being disassembled by the student over their 3 week shop project.  This video could then be edited, given a voice over and posted on my page.  Not only is it interesting seeing how a gas turbine works, its’ internal parts and the disassembly, re-assembly process; student could use this video as a preview for the project to come; or students in earlier levels could have a peek at what they get to do in Level 5 with Mr. German.  Once again the biggest issue is time to get these ideas completed.  Also at BCIT, while I am teaching gas turbines today, there is no guarantee that in the new year I may be moved and end up teaching hydraulics for 6 months.  My blog would then have to shift over to focus on brakes, landing gear and wheels, my ideas for gas turbines on hold till a later date.
In the future, should I create another blog my main issue is that I will have no fear and could probably get one up and running in a matter of minutes.  What I do differently would depend on what I wish to post and present to the world?  A blog highlighting my passion for sport and fitness may include photos and videos I have taken from trips and events worldwide.  It could include links for food, nutrition, gear and travel sites.  I could also provide links to other blogs such as my wife’s massage therapist page, physical therapists and other sports medicine areas.  I would like to have a video that might play on the main page immediately as you log in but haven’t yet figure out how to link up a video to something I would post on YouTube.
I feel my blog is very strong.  I am not going to say it has weaknesses because I have never created a blog before.   As this is my first attempt I am quite proud of the work I have done.  I have put a large amount of time and effort into creating an interesting and useful site.  While reading through the rubric, I can say that I have targeted all the points essential to obtaining a Level 4.  I have posted all the required material such as our Tech and Trends articles plus Web 2.0 tool summary; I have posted five (Death by PowerPoint was also included) journal entries which all show significant thought and insight; I have touched on all the points as per the expectations in the course assignment outline; I have contributed a significant amount of my own photos to provide a visually interesting page; I have also linked videos that should be of interest to not only my students but the casual visitor as well. 
My entries to the blog are categorized and well titled with an excellent links page.  My links include not only VCC but BCIT and the Aerospace link as well.  I have a list of the reading material required in my course and in fact the whole program.  Should the student be closer to graduation I have links to job boards and Transport Canada for their license requirements.  Additional information and little teasers are provided in the form of links to web sites of some of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world today.  A visit to any one of these sites could provide hours of reading and information for even the most basic aviation buff.  My writing has been triple checked for grammar and spelling and I feel the look of the page is very clean, neat, organized and professional for a first attempt at a blog.  For all these reasons I have stated my mark should be a minimum of an A, falling in the range from Level 3 (9) to Level 4 (9.5).

Final Self-Assessment for PIDP 3240 Social Media Assignment #3 Wiki

PIDP 3240 Social Media
Wiki Page Copyrightlawspidp
Assignment #3 Wiki Self- Assessment
Before beginning the PIDP and group assignment #3 I had my apprehensions.  I have always felt and experienced that group projects can be an inordinate amount of hassle.  These problems are usually the result of one or more people failing to contribute or “pull their weight”.  Another issue that has arisen in the past was communication and direction.  Communication can be very lacking or non-existent and as a result group members do not stay on track.   Nothing is worse than carrying out research and writing for hours or days only to find out as per the rest of the group that this work is of no use.
Even within the gas turbine engine course I teach at BCIT, my feeling is that there are too many group projects.  The main problems I see within my own course and its’ group projects are students hiding behind other students.  Maybe one of the group is weak and the other members cover for this fact after being together for almost a year now; individual members and their personalities may bully others into carrying out the majority of the assignments; students with weaker English skills may choose to do the research but have the other members ask the questions and perform the hands-on skills.  Luckily I am a very hands-on instructor and watch everyone carefully.  Should any of these issue be the case, on the next project (there are three) I will mix the groups as I see fit.
When it came to our wiki group of four I could not have not have been more happy.  We contacted each other on the forum and chose times to meet via ooVoo.  Using ooVoo or the forum as well as text messages and e-mail we fine-tuned our ideas and got the ball rolling.  After this point, within the first couple of weeks the wiki took on a life of its’ own.  Adele was the first to set up the wiki and get everyone invited and listed as organizers.  From there on in it came down to meetings discussing content and what we wished to include or remove. 
All of us had our issues along the way.  Emelda had a number of technical problems and an overall fear/stress of the whole project.  When we meet aside from the wiki group I did my best to alleviate her concerns and let her know that we all had different issues.  The point of this project was to confront those problems and push our boundaries.  The rest of us, Anna, Adele and myself also had various computer or access problems, crashing servers, strange glitches and my entire laptop got a virus and died, costing me days of time.  Along the way all the work got done.  Everyone pulled together, we encouraged each other and the wiki grew with great content.  Overall I was impressed with how a group that was never to meet in person became organized, found some common ground and helped each other get the most out of social media.  Some great ideas were brought up and discussed, once again showing that one of the things I value most in these PIDs was the networking that happens.
With only one week to go on PIDP 3240, I have only managed to gain entry into the wiki of Ray, Angela and Pamela, Copy Right Not Wrong.  The other wiki for Option B students is not yet available to be looked at.  Having read through this groups’ wiki I was impressed by the content and simplicity.  The wiki is easy to navigate, information is plentiful, the links work and the layout is clear.  My only problem with doing this sort of review before course end is it now shines a light on your own work.  I am happy with the wiki project of our group and my contribution to the project, but looking at someone else’s work always forces you to re-think your own.  I saw a few different things that made me go, “Oh, why didn’t I do that?”  I have found both the wiki and the blog to become a bit of a time consumer as I would constantly go in and tweak this and that.  Inevitably you ended up right back where you started from before the fiddling began.   In any event this wiki gave me more ideas for how I could do my own better in the future if I had complete control.
I would love to assign my class a wiki project on day one of the course, maybe breaking everyone into groups of 2 or 3 but contributing to the same wiki.  By level end at 8 weeks it would have to be unveiled to me via the address and worth a certain percentage of their final mark.  During the final level to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer program, students are expected to create their own AMO or Aircraft Maintenance Organization.  They must organize themselves and appoint a Director, QA Manager and various supervisors.  They are expected to find a site for a base and hangar, decide on their market and which aircraft they will operate.  Each member of the class is expected to participate and contribute.  Should I have the opportunity to teach Level 8 I would use a wiki as the site to carry out this project.  Students could work at the school or on their own time at home or library.  The point being that everyone would have to get organized and communicate.  Each person would be expected to contribute and team building skills are essential.  Just like in the industry, you may be handed a project for which you have no experience to reference.  You are assigned a team, a deadline and expected to produce.
Next time I create a wiki I would hope to have more time to invest in it.  That being said we as a group put a huge amount of time and effort into the content of the wiki.  Looking at the wikis of previous classes we found many to be awfully skimpy on the information, almost a bare minimum.  Having a time limit to get organized, research material, post it, vet it, edit it, discuss it, and edit it again put us all under the gun so to speak.  Should I endeavor to create another wiki on my own it would be more of a slow paced and methodical evolution.  I would research more on sites such as YouTube for the ideas on how to link different visual aids into the site.  Having a group of four people was also a challenge to arrange schedules and ideas.  I saw communication and finding slots in four different peoples schedules to have a quick chat the most difficult aspect to organize.  Once these meetings were held, everyone got on with the work and built the wiki into a huge resource.
As a group none of us had ever dealt with wikis before, except for sites such as Wikipedia.  We came together and gelled well, using the forum to get organized and make decisions as to when we should meet.  OoVoo became our second major source for communication but initially caused a few technical bugs.  As a group everyone participated equally and contributed excellent quality and quantity of content. We all had our various troubles, glitches and learning curve issues along the way but helped each other through the foggier patches.  Having gone from zero on the knowledge scale to creating and filling our own wiki gave me an excellent sense of accomplishment.  From a site of blank pages to one filled to the brim with writing, photos and links I felt we earned a top mark.  After multiple reviews of our site and the rubric I believe as a group we should earn nothing less than an A as per Level 4-5, 9-9.5. 
We have a variety of content, interesting links, good grammar and spelling.  During the research for our wiki we all spent time looking at previous classes’ wiki sites and found many to be fairly slim on content and imagination, a bare minimum at best.  In comparison ours was overflowing with information, enough that we decided during one of our many ooVoo sessions to cut back.
The biggest problem in my eyes was remaining organized with the amount of information we had.  Keeping topics clear and the pages flowing was a challenge as was having group members edit each other’s’ work.  The whole point of a wiki was the ability to go in and edit the pages, but I found we were all hesitant to edit pages that we had not created.  This caused more back and forth with communication rather than just making the changes and moving forward, saving time and energy.  As a group we all learned a huge amount about wikis as well as topics such as hyperlinks, editing, copyright materials and social media for communication on ooVoo and the VCC forum.  Time spent working on this wiki will be of invaluable use in the future for not only myself but my students as well.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Journal Entry #4 for PIDP 3240 Social Media

Assignment #1
Journal #4—Reflection on the Role of Social Media in Education
The role of social media within education is established and will only become more entrenched as time goes on.  With new types of media being developed and utilized at an ever increasing rate, students and teachers will accept and adopt these tools for the classroom use.  Forms of media such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and use of e-mail and text messaging make it possible for people to connect at a rate never seen before.  All of these sites can be adopted to help the teacher and the student to stay in touch, learn, develop ideas and reach new heights with the possibilities of education and learning.  Projects can be posted and worked on from remote sites; students can communicate with one another without the need to be in the classroom or on campus. In much the same manner as our VCC PIDP 3240, entire courses can be taught via the internet, from enrollment and assignments through major projects, assessments and marking.
When I reflect on my own course work and materials, can I foresee the use of social media within my classroom?  On many levels it is a resounding “Yes”. PIDP 3240 has opened my eyes to the possibilities of different aspects of media and the internet.  What I once imagined would be too difficult or require excessive work, I now realize are quite simple. A blog or wiki can be set up and created within minutes.  I wish to use my blog that is still growing as a means to motivate and educate my students.  Should my students wish to visit my page, they will find a site that summarizes my career and illustrates the possibilities of a future in aviation.  While my blog is filled with material on my PIDP, I am also trying to expand it into something worth visiting.  A quick look over the blog has some short, interesting (to me and others I hope!) video links as well as photos of my time in the industry.  Every photo I have posted and the different locations I am in is a direct result of my industry time.  Each picture has a story, and although I am snowboarding in the mountains, how I got there is a result of a road trip to repair a machine or a perk of the job.   
Within the 16 month aircraft maintenance program, I receive my students for Level 5 at the 10 month period.  They are getting over the hump so to speak and are on the downhill side, graduation in sight within 6 months.  I encourage them to think about where they wish to be and in what area is their desire to work.  Is it for a large airline on big commercial jets?  Maybe their eyes are set on a career in the helicopter industry.  I use myself as an example and my time working on turboprops as a way to motivate them for this last push towards graduation.  Photos posted and rotated from time to time can keep my site fresh.  Interesting jobs and locations on the road hopefully get the student excited for those parts of the industry.  Additional educational materials can also be placed onto the blog.  I try to hold back some of the good stuff from the classroom as a means to encourage the students to visit the blog.  As an educational tool it can provide a switch from a morning of PowerPoint dryness.  I also like to include links to job boards and search sites for work in the industry.  By Level 5 students are beginning to think more seriously about work, these links can help them search for jobs and fine tune their resumes and cover letters.
I see value in implementing many of these tools in some fashion or another to many areas of course work.  At the very least, a site such as Facebook could be used by the class as a communication tool solely amongst themselves for assignments, projects or study. I have no problem with them reminding each other about upcoming work.  Over the 16 month aerospace program, the entire class remains together, only changing due to failures, drop-outs or other students cycling back into the class if there is space available.  A class Facebook site would be an excellent tool.  When I mention to the students that they should have at the very least a class e-mail address it is amazing the amount of times that this is the first they have heard of it.  There is often the realization of an opportunity missed over the previous 10 months of the program.  A Facebook site is also an excellent way for the instructor to post any news of interest for the students, such as current events regarding aviation; soliciting interest about a possible field trip; asking students to review a video before including it in future classes etc.  Once graduated, a common e-mail site or Facebook page gives the class a format to stay in touch; update one another to their job search; post pictures from their current job and generally remain connected.  I remind them over and over, who you know in the industry is almost as important as what you know.
Social media certainly has its place within the realms of education.   I continue to solicit information from my students about what they use; what is the latest and greatest.  In this way, should a form of media arise or gain in popularity that I may be able to use with a minimum of fuss, I will be able to research it and maybe try it out rather than fall too far behind the times.
I am very interested in using Twitter as a feedback device about my course and lectures.  As an instructor, I am always concerned about moving too quickly or not explaining a subject clearly enough for every member of the class.  Twitter could be used as a method of self -evaluation, Tweets serving the purpose of asking questions or classmates helping each other once away from school.  Many of my students are ESL from the Asian rim area and as such have a tendency to avoid asking questions in class.  This is a result of cultural differences and a fear of embarrassment should they admit publicly that they do not understand a certain topic.  I encourage every student to use my e-mail, office phone or in the future maybe Twitter to pose these questions or concerns in a manner that ensures a certain degree of privacy.  With a Twitter account, I can answer questions or direct students to textbook areas or additional subject matter.  Classmates can also help each other and create a forum to discuss all matters aviation related.  My lectures can be criticized or exams discussed, in essence, almost like the topic of the “Muddiest point” from PIDP 3230, yet in a digital, social media format.  At the end of the week, I could have the students Tweet their muddiest point.  They could easily send out a brief message about which topic they found to be the least understood of the weeks.  Having received this Tweet, or chosen the most common or important, I could then start Monday by reviewing this area of the subject matter. 
Aviation is an industry that has a language all its own, filled with different terms, terminology and acronyms.  I would like to use Twitter to start sending Tweets or acronyms of the day to my students or followers.  Every day of the week could be a different acronym, from EICAS to FADEC, then on to EHSI and GPWS.  What does it all mean?  Challenge the students to figure it out, reward the ones who follow up the quickest.   An accumulation of points then gets them lunch on me or an introduction to people of interest at the various companies I have connections with.
Given the time at BCIT, I would also like to photograph every step of the main engine disassembly projects during our shop time.  These photos could then be posted on a site such as Picasa or Flickr.  When the students are working in the shop, a laptop could be attached to the large screen monitor and the photos synced to the project at hand.  Students could jump steps ahead to preview the task, or work in reverse for the re-assembly.  From home this same site could be used as a study aid, seeing as on the final day of their project they receive an in-depth oral examination encompassing the previous 3 weeks of work.
I do try and use videos and links to such sites as YouTube for the most current visual aids.  Many times in the shop, I will plug in my laptop and show videos relating to the subject at hand, should I be able to find them.
Utilizing other forms of social media could also be implemented into the course with the right amount of research and time.  With respect to my course work and the infrastructure at BCIT, I can see this being a slow and tortuous process.  What I teach and how I teach it are very regimented at the school.  Students are learning about aircraft maintenance, using hand tools, inspection methods, lectures, shop time and complicated hands on project work.  I am sure there is a way to apply social media to some aspect of this course, but it would have to be well thought out and probably apply to the theory segment only.   What we are trying to teach is the whole big picture in this program.  Not only are the hand skills critical to the process, but so are the theory lectures and projects.  Topics discussed in the classroom must then be applied to the projects at hand in the shop. 
We also emphasize in our teaching professionalism, integrity, honesty, reliability, critical thinking and a gamut of other aspects of the job of the airplane mechanic.  Students are already overloaded with new topics, terms, and ideas from Monday to Friday, how then to spin some of this work off into a social media form?  As well, our curriculum is set by the federal body of Transport Canada.  Everything we teach has been vetted and reviewed by not only the institute and government body, but other such as CAMSE and EASA.  Material taught; how it is presented and covered; time spent on each subject and to what degree of understanding; shop time etc. are all mandated and dictated towards the students graduating, becoming apprentices and gaining a license as an Aircraft Maintenance engineer or AME.
My major issue with implementing social media is having the time to pursue this tool.  The resistance to change is quite strong within the walls where I work, and this topic has been a constant sore spot during my PID course and the various journal and rationale rants I have written.  Developing something as involved as a social media aspect to my course would be an excellent project and help bring this course 10 years more up-to-date.  Unfortunately many of my co-workers are still dependent on overhead projectors, chalk and talk, photocopy handouts that are 20 years obsolete and are terrified of using a computer terminal or video from YouTube.  An outdated VHS tape is the best their class could hope for as a break from copying notes from the board.  The mere mention of the internet or term social media strikes fear into their faces and raises their blood pressure.  Development and implementation of anything new is close to impossible without the support and signatures on paper of anyone who may be even remotely involved with teaching my same class at one time or another. 
That being said, I am always looking for new opportunities to teach my students.  Any new form of media, video, photo or hands-on tool I will gladly implement if it will hold their attention for 15 minutes.  If I can get something to sink in and stay there for the duration of my course, then it has served its’ purpose.  We at the BCIT Aerospace campus are blessed with a state of the art facility, yet it is only being used to a fraction of its capability.  Resistance to change is strong within the walls yet as an industry aviation is built on adapting and exploiting new technology.  Pilots now have digital flight bags, essentially replacing the small suitcases they toted onto the plane with iPads full of everything they need in terms of maps, GPS coordinates and various flight data to be uploaded to the airplane.  Mechanics now have the ability to be trained in a virtual reality environment, using a simulator to replace the flight deck of a large aircraft for systems work.  Not many airlines have a spare $300 million dollar Boeing 777 sitting idle for the staff to use as a training resource.  Mechanics are using to a greater degree simulation, computers and good old paper to expand on their learning environment.  Modern machines demand an understanding of not only the nuts and bolts of the repair and assembly process but troubleshooting skills that begin before the aircraft has even landed.  Todays’ technician needs to be fully versed in a wide variety of procedures and technologies to compete in an already tight marketplace.  How can we as instructors prepare them for that?  In the simplest terms we also have to stay involved with the cutting edge of teaching tools and technologies, and our employers have to listen and adapt to our concerns if we are to continue to remain competitive and produce a top notch product….our graduates.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Journal Entry #3 for PIDP 3240 Social Media

Assignment #1
Journal #3—Twitter as an Educational Tool
Twitter is another arrow in the quiver of educational tools.  The facts support the numbers and popularity of Twitter, but is it actually a useful educational tool?  As the host of the blog states, it isn’t a be-all-end-all to education in the classroom, merely another potential way to get through to the student, help motivate and make a connection.
My feeling is that Twitter would be an excellent tool for the class to communicate amongst themselves; for me as the instructor to communicate various topics of importance; and as a form of criticism with respect to my teaching and effectiveness of my lectures.  If students are having trouble with certain subjects they could post tweets of their questions to one another.  If they are concerned about an area of lecture or a topic that they can’t quite grasp, they can post questions to me.  I could Tweet textbook areas they need to research more closely, maybe a video to watch or current events in the industry that students may be interested in.  Twitter could be used as a way for the instructor to gauge the level of interest in a particular field trip.  Answer sent via Tweets could be tallied and the majority wins.  At the end of the week, students could tweet their feelings about the weeks subject matter and review my lectures for weaknesses.   A teaching method discussed in PID 3250 Motivational Techniques was the technique of Muddiest Point.  Students can take one sentence or two to quickly write down what then considered to be the “muddiest point”, that being the most difficult or least understood topic of the week.  As a form of review or as a way to gauge the success of my weeks lecture muddiest point could go social media and apply to Tweets.  Students could tweet their muddiest point and on the Monday I could use these tweets as the basis for review.  Keeping tally of the muddiest points from class to class would also serve the purpose of helping to fine tune my lectures and make them more concise and universally understood. 
Within the program of aircraft maintenance, students are taught the value and seriousness of safety and attention to detail.  How could Twitter help me in my class with organization?  After some time to reflect, I honestly couldn’t think of any aspect or area where I could implement it to make that area of instruction better.  Could I use it to remind the students of upcoming assignments and exams?  Absolutely, except for one fact.  On the very first day of class I begin with an introduction to the course and myself as instructor.  I also lay out every exam and assignment due date.  Should the student forget is not my concern.  What we are trying to teach once again is responsibility, organization, teamwork, and reliability.  If I send out a Tweet every time an assignment or exam is due, then I am relieving them of the need to better hone those skills.
Using many of these newer social media tools to help the instructor or better the education is without a doubt possible.  I could see the use for Twitter in the PIDP program, especially for those classes taught on opposing weekends of Friday night through Sunday afternoon.  Tweets by the instructor to remind everyone of upcoming topics, things not to forget or venue changes are all excellent ideas, but e-mail works just as well.  Then again, we are grown adults and as I stated in the previous paragraph, it is up to us to remember material and become responsible for our own learning.
Unfortunately Tweets also force us to limit our vocabulary and use many different symbols, essentially creating another language.  Is everyone comfortable doing this?  I myself have noticed a trend of poor grammar, terrible spelling, and incomprehensible syntax.  My students range from recent high school graduates to adults well into their 30’s.  I remind them that once they are working and have obtained their AME (aircraft maintenance engineer) license, any paperwork they carry out is considered a legal document and remains with the aircraft, engines, propellers or landing gear for its’ entire life.  Neat, tidy, accurate paperwork is a must.  Is Twitter going to encourage this or further lead to the general decline in standards, attention to detail and workmanship?  To communicate quick snippets of information or let a group of people know about changes or updates Twitter could be of great value. 
How it could fit into higher education or be of use to different teachers or subject matter would be up to the individual. Is the class interested in using this tool or taking on another media account?  What about the demographic of the classroom?  Is everyone comfortable using this tool, or being forced into it due to a majority vote in favor of?  Todays’ student is required to have a computer, preferably a laptop for portability, a printer, multiple e-mail accounts and strong skills on how to use everything with regards to processing and moving information through various forms of hardware.  Many in the younger generation are adept in these skills, but what of the ones who can’t afford some of these tools?  What of the older students, an increasing demographic, who may be re-educating or updating skills and have not mastered these different technologies?
Beginning my latest career as an instructor has forced me to shift gears and attempt different teaching techniques with every new group I receive.  Reflecting on my past year of lecturing and teaching, what strikes me as my most effective form of communication is talking to the students, learning their names and looking them in the eyes.  At the end of the day, week or level, what I feel truly determines my success rate is whether I have made a connection and imparted my passion for what I teach into the subject matter.  By getting to know every student in the class over the 8 weeks they are with me forces us to communicate.  They will learn what it is that I value beyond test scores and quiz results.  I will also hopefully see where they are struggling or having difficulties and then alleviate those barriers.  I encourage them to visit my new blog, as it is used to show the potential for their newly chosen profession.  Aside from that, e-mail me or leave a voice message if you need me or have questions.  With the prevalence of information being thrown at us via television, internet, text, tweets, blogs, Facebook and others, I use my class time to leave all this at the door.  Cellphones are forbidden in class for the obvious reason of distraction and the need to focus on me, the subject matter and your classmates.  If the students can focus on me for 2 ninety minute sessions in the morning and 2 ninety minute shop sessions in the afternoon, I have witnessed that they tend to do just fine.  Twitter may very well have its usefulness in many aspects of education, but if used in my shop or classroom it would need to be well thought out.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Aerospace Links & Course Reading Material

These are all excellent sites, providing lots of information from some of the biggest aerospace companies today.

Transport Canada
A good place to research CARs and those tasks required to get your license. Any questions about aviation and its' rules and regulations in Canada can be found here.

Course Texts

Jeppensen A & P Technician Powerplant Textbook
Jeppensen A & P Technician Airframe Textbook
Jeppensen A & P Technician General Textbook
Jeppensen Helicopter Maintenance
AC 43.13Aircraft Inspection, Repair and Alterations
Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms 3rd Edition
Aviation Mechanic Handbook

Monday, 12 November 2012

Interesting Videos and Subjet Matter

The following is an excellent animation for how a gas turbine engine functions, using a large jet engine as an example.
The second video is of the NOTAR (no tail rotor) Hughes MD 500 helicopter.  With no tail rotor, this aircraft uses ducted exhaust and airflow out of the tail boom for directional control and to counteract torque from the main rotor.
The third video is about the history of the unducted turbofan engine from the company General Electric.  The idea and design of the unducted jet engine was a proven concept, but market forces stopped its implementation.  The technological gains made by the company were spun off into the GEnx version of its' turbofan line.
Kenn Borek is a Canadian company that works around the world, from the sunny Maldives to the freezing Antartic.  This video shows the extreme possibilities of your future career.