How Does Shop Class Look Online?

All hands-on classes are different this year due to COVID-19. Instead of changing the entire course, shop teacher Mr. Miura is trying to keep some of the hands-on aspects of the class. (Photo used by permission of Scott Sinor)

Shop class has to change to become an online class, but how will Mr. Miura do it? 

He has decided to keep some of the physical parts of his Carpentry and Core and Sustainable Construction classes. Though he endeavors to keep many parts of class hands-on, some things like the demonstrations are changing to their online equivalent.

Moving to an online model is difficult for the majority of teachers. Mr. Miura’s class and other active classes are harder to move online than others. 

“This will be a challenging time for all CTE predominantly hands-on classes,” said Mr. Miura via email.

Teaching terminology and procedures is easy to teach online using Google Classroom or Canvas, but other parts of the class are not so easy to do. Examples include teacher demonstrations and physical activities. 

Mr. Miura plans to use “[multiple] visual platforms” to show his students proper construction techniques. The videos he has picked include ones from outside sources and videos of himself.

Before the students can practice the techniques in the videos, they have to take protective measures. “We will go over safety procedures starting with parental approval,” said Miura. 

These safety procedures will help prevent injury during at-home building activities.

After they understand the safety procedures and get approval, students will continue with the assignment. The first project the students will complete is a phone holder.

Mr. Miura has asked the students to draw up a plan and create measurements for their phone holder. They will receive materials after they successfully complete the measurements.

Mr. Miura intends to “prepare project material[s] for student pick up.”  For the phone holder project, he will prepare plywood (based on measurements), sandpaper, and glue for each student. 

To complete their assignments the students will have to record themselves doing them. The shop teacher prefers for students to do “live demonstrations.” These first demonstrations will include sanding the wood and gluing it together.  By doing the videos live the students prove that the completed project is their work.

Mr. Miura has planned a way for students to be able to complete some of the hands-on portions of the class. The larger tasks that use bigger tools (ex. a table saw) are absent from the syllabus. These might be absent, but the students can complete many other physical assignments like the phone holder.

This method of hands-on activities is successful, but he continues to look for other ways. “I meet weekly with 9-10 other shop teachers. We are constantly brainstorming for activities to present,” said Mr. Miura. 

Shop class is a physical class, but Mr. Miura has found a way for it to be virtual. He created a way for physical projects to stay in the syllabus. His teaching method will help prepare students for the next level of shop classes.


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