Magazine article Techniques

Acte's Careertech Vision 2014 a Professional Development Goldmine

Magazine article Techniques

Acte's Careertech Vision 2014 a Professional Development Goldmine

Article excerpt

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU GATHER GRADUATE STUDENTS from various backgrounds and different areas of CTE expertise and send them to the nation's largest career and technical education (CTE) conference? The answer is unequivocal: a healthy four-day dose of powerful CTE knowledge and motivation, coupled with a CareerTech Expo filled with the latest and greatest instructional materials.

Overall, ACTE's CareerTech VISION this past November in Nashville, Tennessee, was an outstanding event that distributed an enormous amount of information to the next wave of CTE professionals, and it allowed attendees to create new professional connections, ensuring a promising present and future for the field it represents.

Preparation for VISION

This past semester, I participated in a CTE graduate course with eight other students. Our class was made up of practicing and future teachers, which consisted of two students in FACS, two students in business, one studying medical imaging, one in technology, another in construction technology, one in media and cinema studies, and one student in the culinary arts.

We, along with our professor, Eugenio Basualdo, eagerly awaited the conference's arrival, which would be the culmination of the course. But before going, we felt a little preparation was in order. In the same fashion that we relate classroom learning to real life, we realized we needed to learn more about our own profession and the resources available to us. So during the course of our graduate class, we became members of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), and we quickly reaped the benefits of membership. We studied ACTE's history, organizational structure and current teacher resources. Additionally, our in-depth study on the history of CTE fostered a sense of pride in our profession and served to remind us of how much CTE has evolved and how it is still the best way for a student to learn and apply new knowledge.

Perusing the conference schedule and reading descriptions of all the events, workshops, ceremonies and guest speakers was almost overwhelming! There was so much available to us, but reality dictated we choose what we believed would provide the greatest benefit to our teaching (or future teaching) practices. With that in mind, we structured our schedules around our interests and goals and decided to meet at free intervals to share our experiences and learn from one another. And we stuck to that plan during the conference. That time of sharing and exchanging ideas was invaluable to our professional development, and it served to multiply the amount of information we took away from the conference.

First-time Attendee Orientation

The welcome breakfast and orientation for first-timers set the stage for all that the conference would offer: good food, new contacts and relevant information. The U.S. Army sponsored this event and guest speaker, Col. James T. Iacocca, deputy commanding officer, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, spoke about how the Army and ACTE are similar in that they both serve to motivate, educate and train young people for a quality and successful life. An alarming statistic he conveyed was that only three out of 10 applicants qualify for admittance in the Army due to physical, academic or moral aspects. It was clear CTE educators needed to help improve that statistic, and the U.S. Army has more than 40 free educational sources for teachers to use.

There were many opportunities for all the first-timers, both during and after orientation, to make new contacts, all while enjoying a continental breakfast!

Power Talks and Keynote Speeches

Diane Ravitch

Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, was the Opening General Session speaker, and she was terrific. A strong advocate for the public school system, she spoke very frankly on many important issues facing education today, such as testing, No Child Left Behind and the Common Core State Standards. …

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