Students in our electrical trades program normally work with a wooden frame called a cubicle, which looks like the part of a wall that an electrician would see when starting work on a house that’s being built.
The cubicles in the classroom are 8 feet tall, but Electrical Trades instructor Craig Paquin realized he could make miniature versions of them for his students to take home while our schools shift temporarily to remote learning.
The 2-foot-by-2-foot wood frames mimic the frame of a wall before sheetrock is installed. Students picked them up from the school on Thursday, along with a box containing wires, receptacles, switches, lights, wire staples, switches and other components. Mr. Paquin said he could think of at least 10 different projects for students to create with those items.
“There’s just a ton of stuff we can do with it,” Mr. Paquin said.
He’ll assign specific circuits to his students, then have them send him photos so he can check for mistakes that may make the circuit not work or create a code violation. Having students practice this type of circuitry at home is totally safe because it won’t be plugged in so that electricity runs through it.
Even though the mini cubicles are small, his students can still replicate the same circuitry that a wall would have.
The students are studying the concepts of Electrical Trades via book lessons, written assignments, and other methods, but Mr. Paquin said that students need more than that to stay engaged and truly absorb the material.
“Theory is extremely important,” said Mr. Paquin. If you can’t practice a theory you’ve learned, it doesn’t have much relevance.”
Mr. Paquin got the idea for his take-home circuitry kits from culinary teacher Jim LaLonde, who is sending home boxes of ingredients so his students can cook specific recipes at home.
The kits didn’t cost any additional money to create. The wires and other components are ones that would have been used it the classroom anyway, and the cubicles were built from wood leftover from building the larger classroom-sized ones.
Mr. Paquin has also taken advantage of students learn remotely by recording video of himself at several different job sites, giving students visual lessons that would have been difficult to do regularly with a group of students in tow.
Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES’s Electrical Trades program is part of the Career and Technical Education program we offer local students. When COVID isn’t driving us into remote learning, students in the two-year program are bussed to the North Franklin Educational Centers in Malone for a half day of learning and hands-on experience.
We’re proud of our staff for finding ways to give students hands-on experience while they’re learning remotely, but technical education always works better in the classroom. Help us protect our community and get kids back into schools.