Industrial Arts Instructor Jeff Gibson, who teaches at both the high school and middle school level in the West County R-IV School District, now has taken on the role of lead teacher effectiveness coach for the state of Missouri for the Engineering byDesign program.
Engineering byDesign is a curriculum program developed by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). The professional organization for technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators, ITEEA promotes technological literacy by supporting efforts to teach technology and by promoting the professionalism of those who do so, according to the organization’s website.
In his new role, Gibson, 35, of Potosi, will act as an Engineering byDesign trainer, leading professional development sessions during the summer for Missouri teachers looking to use the Engineering byDesign curriculum in their classes. Gibson completed the required training for the position a couple of weeks back at the Authorized Teacher Institute in Washington D.C.
While he is excited about the new opportunity, Gibson said, it has been a lot to digest.
“Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming,” Gibson said. “I’m just a regular teacher, just like every other tech ed teacher. To get the opportunity to do this was pretty big for my career.”
With the West County School District for 14 years, Gibson began using the Engineering byDesign curriculum in 2009 after attending a state conference that featured information on the program.
Once he received the go-ahead from district officials, Gibson implemented a foundations of technology course based on the program curriculum. He then began teaching a technological design class and later, an invention and innovation course based on it, after taking part in additional training sessions.
The foundations of technology and technological design courses are taught at the high school level. The invention and innovation class is taught at the middle school level.
Gibson remarked on the flexibility of the Engineering byDesign program. He said the curriculum can be modified to fit the needs of each student, so all students regardless of their knowledge and skill level can walk away having gained something from his classes.
“The other curriculum out there might just fit the top 10 percent of students. That would not work for me,” he said.
The Engineering byDesign program allows students to view the world of engineering from a fresh perspective. The point of the program is not necessarily to help prepare students for a career in engineering, he said. Instead, it provides students with an opportunity to employ engineering principles in their daily activities.
“It’s really going to teach them to be thinkers, to think outside the box,” Gibson said.
Foundations of Technology student Jacob Eaves, 14, a freshman, said the work students are doing in Gibson’s class is fun.
“You get to work with your friends and make something you can actually be proud of,” Eaves said, adding that the course allows students to investigate the field of technology before committing to it. “If you don’t know what you want to do, it’s a good class to take to see if you like it or not. It’s a good way to learn about the engineering and design process [because] you’re not just learning about it, you’re also using it to make things.”
Gibson noted that the Engineering byDesign curriculum is affordable as well. Gibson said it is paid for at the state level for any district wishing to implement it, as long as the district signs on to use it and instructors are trained on it.
Gibson serves on the Missouri Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) Committee as well. The Missouri Technical Education director asked him to serve on the panel, which is working to increase the focus on STEM education in Missouri schools, he said.
Superintendent Stacy Stevens said district officials are excited about the roles Gibson has taken on at the state level. “We’re proud of him and what he’s doing because it can’t be anything but good for our kids,” Stevens said.
Clementine Carbery is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or email@example.com