Background

Background

The Emerging Technology project had its beginnings in the High Tech Initiative in the late 1980’s. At that time, the State Board for Career and Technical Education helped establish and provide initial federal funding for consortiums of schools to form “High- Tech Cooperatives” each comprised of 6 to 20 schools that rotated a variety of technology based equipment between members of the consortium. This rotation concept enabled the schools to share the cost of equipment and kept expensive equipment in use as it moved from school to school. The results were that the High Tech equipment was being used by students and teachers. Also with the modules rotating between schools it was being used all the time, in effect wearing out equipment due to use rather than its growing outdated on a shelf when a particular class was finished with it.

 

The SBCTE provided federal start-up funding, some for professional development and a minimal amount of funding to be used to repair and maintain the equipment. The balance of the funding to operate, replace, and repair equipment came from the member schools through membership tuition. Each member school paid a yearly tuition fee to the consortium of $2,000 to $5000 depending on the consortium that they are in. The number of schools currently in a consortium varies from 3 to 20.

 

While these consortiums initially were able to maintain the equipment that were in the learning modules, the equipment replacement cycle and the high usage of the equipment has outpaced the ability of consortiums to replace outdated or worn out equipment. The equipment that is currently being rotated between schools on a four to six week rotation: Robotics, CNC Milling/Lathe, Biotech/Genetics, Lasers, and Hydraulics & Pneumatics, along with some other equipment that individual consortiums have developed for their area. The variety of equipment, along with new equipment to be added to the rotations, will enable the curriculum to align to the standards for technological literacy.

 

 

All instructors who use the emerging technology modules must be trained on each module prior to that module being used in the school.