The teacher who uses these tools in their classroom, studio or lab, must train all who use the tools and maintain the tools for use. Technology, Engineering and Design teachers typically come with that training from their teacher prep establishment. This knowledge is part of the 30 + credits within the major. With others, such as alternate route candidates, it is up to the local district to ensure that the teacher has the appropriate qualifications to use tools that are related to the curricula the individual is assigned to teach.
When I was a student at TCNJ (at the time it was Trenton State College), we would have a lawyer come in every year to discuss liability with us. This included the do's and don'ts of teaching tool safety and allowing students to use the tools and equipment in the classroom, studio or lab. We would walk away with some fear in our hearts hoping we would never have to deal with such incidents, but also a sense of confidence that what we were learning at the college would have us well prepared.
After all these years, my worst student injury was an awl in a finger, which resulted in a trip to the emergency ward for stitches. I'm sure you have all written up an accident report or two, maybe for a utility knife cut or hot glue gun burn. They happen. Hopefully, you have not had to write up anything worse.
But as tools and equipment become more user friendly and less scary, we still need to remain vigilant about the mishaps that can occur. Although these new tools and equipment were a part of our training in college, they are still tools and equipment to respect and heed caution when allowing students to use them. Proper training is a must for each piece of equipment that a teacher and student uses. Additionally, as we protect our equipment with surge protectors, tell your students to avoid using those as additional power sources because an accidental switch of the reset button and you have lost a 20+ hour plastic print or laser cutting/etching! Been there, had that happen to me.
So if you are accustomed to giving safety tests for older equipment, add these new technologies to your test bank and don't overlook adding in additional safety precautions such and staying away from equipment in motion so that the machine doesn't get interrupted unnecessarily.
Below you can see the language for the Technology Education major as well as alternate route candidates related to coursework. Note that safety is equally important.
Current regulations for certification require that applicants complete a 30 credit coherent sequence of study in courses that align to the Standards for Technological Literacy (STL). A coherent sequence requires that at least 12 credits are completed at the advanced level of study (junior, senior or graduate level). Within the 30 credits, the candidate shall complete study in:
- The nature of technology or technology and society
- Technological design
- The use of tools and materials and safety related to using tools and materials; and
- Three of the following seven areas:
ii. Agricultural and related biotechnologies
iii. Energy and power technologies
iv. Information and communication technologies
v. Transportation technologies
vi. Manufacturing technologies and/or
vii. Construction technologies
If you are not a teacher prepared in Technology Education or Industrial Arts (as I was), then check with an administrator to see if you are eligible to teach students to use certain tools and equipment or if you need further training of some sort. Never be shy to request appropriate training in writing if not offered or provided. ~ Wendy Green, NJTEEA Past President