It is well established that teachers are most comfortable teaching subjects they have been taught to teach. You remember the teacher you had in high school that really did not know their subject matter. I had an algebra teacher whom I swear learned the chapter he was trying to teach us the night before class. We also had teachers that really got into their subject. These were the interesting and exciting teachers that were committed to their subject matter, their craft and their students. They taught the class we wanted to attend; it was fun, interesting and stimulating.
10 years ago I begin teaching students how to convert gas cars to electric vehicles at our local community college. The last 10 years in EV years represents over 100 years of progress. Think about it. How much progress was made in the design, development and deployment of electric vehicles from 1908 through 2008? Not much. There was a slight blip in the 1990s, then a quick retreat to the security of big oil.
Now think about the design, development and deployment of electrics over the last 10 years. Tesla, Nissan, Toyota even Ford are all developing and selling electric vehicles. Same for Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz; almost all other major and minor manufacturers are developing electric vehicles. That’s a lot of progress. According to AAA, 1 in 5 people want an electric vehicle now.
Some countries are mandating the purchase of only electric vehicles by 2020 while others are simply encouraging consumers to purchase EV’s through incentives and education.
Education is where we come in. For the past 10 years Switch Vehicles, Inc., has been teaching teachers how to teach their students about electric vehicles. The SWITCH Lab™ is a hands on project-based curriculum complete with a full size, road worthy, electric vehicle delivered as a kit complete with assembly instructions, curriculum, lesson plans and most importantly training for instructors.
Students build the entire vehicle from the ground up. The frame and major components are welded and ready for painting or powder coating but everything has to be bolted together and properly configured, mounted and wired.
The SWITCH Lab teaches students and their instructors how electric cars work, where the energy comes from, how electricity is converted into movement with the help of the inverter and motor and how the energy is replenished using the electric grid and charger.
This alone would be fabulous, what could be better than building a car and then driving it? Well I’ll tell you. Students learn to plan, to work together, to communicate, follow directions, keep a schedule, clean up after themselves, problem solve and a whole host of other soft skills, all while developing confidence and self-esteem.
The program begins with a one-week workshop for teachers and teachers’ assistants. During the workshop teachers learn EV concepts, what parts do what, and how to match components to work properly. They learn where the resources are that will help them grow their knowledge.
During this workshop they will construct the Switch electric vehicle their students will assemble when it’s their turn.
The workshop also introduces instructors to the PowerPoint lectures provided with The SWITCH Lab, the text book, lesson plans and homework options we provide. The SWITCH Lab provides all lectures and assignments in Word or PowerPoint so teachers can customize the course to meet their requirements. If the teacher wants students to calculate the energy requirements to climb a 5% grade at 60MPH the lessons (and solutions) are there. If the teacher wants to concentrate on turning students on to the beauty and satisfaction of building something with their hands and minds, those lessons are included as well.
This brings us to the point of this article. Switch Vehicles is announcing the 2018 Partnership Program. We are recruiting partners to hold workshops in their communities and teach teachers how to use The Switch to further EV and soft skill education.
This is an opportunity to participate in today’s most dynamic education initiatives: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), Project Based Learning (PBL) and Career Technical Education (CTE), as well as the growing electric vehicle industry. The SWITCH Lab encompasses all of these education trends and more. Soft skills are a fundamental building block of success no matter what the industry or job. The sooner a person learns how to get along and communicate, the sooner they are on a path to productive employment.
We have created a program to support growth. Seeing and experiencing the Switch is a critical element to early adoption. When instructors see the Switch they are intrigued. When they take the workshop and build the Switch they become converts to electric vehicles and want to use the vehicle in their program.
The partner program is very flexible; you can become a Certified Switch Lab Instructor and lead your own workshops or contract with one of our established instructors to lead your workshops. It can be a part time program to earn a few dollars doing something you believe in and want to support, or it can be a full time job with a significant earnings potential. We work with our partners to create a plan that matches their objectives and fits their schedule. Have a look and see if the program is right for you.