Summer 2009 Issue


ATV in the Classroom:
Helping Make History

By Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP

Jhovana Peralta, KF7DDD, at the microphone having her first QSO during Field Day 2009 with Ralph Gibbs, AE5IC, in Carrollton, Texas. Standing behind her is Yaritza Martinez, another Pueblo ARC student.

Jhovana Peralta, KF7DDD, is a junior at Pueblo Magnet High School, where I teach mathematics. Jhovana is also a teacher, of sorts. She is part of an experiment to determine if amateur radio has a place in the public school curriculum.

Beginning with the fall semester of the 2009–2010 school year, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) will add ham radio as part of the curriculum in an attempt to evaluate its use toward providing high school students with better math and science literacy and competencies. Students successfully completing the class can use it as an elective to meet high school graduation requirements.

The class, “Amateur Radio, Space and Wireless Technologies,” will be funded in part by Joint Technologies Education District (JTED) resources. The ARRL is the major impetus behind this exciting endeavor. Through their generous contributions of equipment and materials and their Teachers Institute, which provides direct support for teachers in the classroom, the ARRL is making this opportunity possible. The combination of student, school district, and ARRL support will, hopefully, pave the way for this class to become part of the established curriculum for the more than 56,000 students attending the 100-plus schools in the TUSD.

Additionally, ATV will be a major part of the implementation strategy for this class. Jhovana will take the lead role of “instructor” both for the students in the classroom and for students elsewhere tuning in on the internet to watch the math and basic electronic lessons that will be presented. These classes will be presented in 3–5 minute vignettes teaching basic concepts. To avoid “broadcasting” issues, licensed hams are being recruited to provide for two-way ATV QSOs.

Stringent Arizona Department of Education requirements will have to be met. Students must meet 80% of established Academic Standards to successfully pass the class. These standards are defined by industry standard criteria in video and audio production.

Jhovana is spearheading a group of Pueblo Amateur Radio Club students who will be responsible for production both “behind and in front of” the camera. Jhovana will assign duties and responsibilities to her fellow classmate as needed to successfully meet the classroom objectives. Jhovana will also supervise her fellow students as they go about producing the programs, which will ultimately constitute a complete course in basic algebra and basic electronics.

The Pueblo ARC students will also use ATV to demonstrate ham radio to students in other high schools throughout southern Arizona. Plans are under way to schedule trips to nearby communities for the purpose of introducing students in math and science classes to the exciting technologies that amateur radio employs. A marketing plan for “getting the word out” includes use of text messaging and Twitter technologies. Plans also include using MySpace as a venue for developing more student involvement.

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