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The North Dakota State Board for Vocational and Technical Education in 1998 funded a “Demonstration Project” which was to demonstrate how High Tech Equipment supported applied technological concepts.  Learning Modules could be utilized to motivationally enhance the learning experiences associated with the mastery of basic science, math and communication principles through the utilization of applied “hand-on” pedagogy.

During the investigation phase of the “Demonstration Project” some very basic parameters relative to the learning requirement for basically a K-7 thru K-12 learning groups of students were identified.  Namely, it was identified that basically virtually all of the then and presently identified career, skill, and/or training requirements could be clustered into three basic “Technological Systems”.  In addition, it was further identified that in order to function, live, work, and continue learning in a modern, global, and competitive society, al K-12 students must have a very good understanding of the basic foundation which support and serve as building blocks for the three basic “Technological Systems”.

During the “Demonstration Project” research phase and its initial implementation it was identified that the three basic “Technological Systems”, whose basic foundations that needed to be master by K-12 students before they leave that particular educational environment, are Informational/Communications Technological System, the Mechanical/Industrial Technological System and the Bio-Chemistry Technological System.

In order to implement satisfactory and effective “hands-on” applied teaching methodology school districts who participated in the “Demonstration Project” realized that teacher upgrade and/or teacher in-service was a critical component.  Also, during the implementation process it became evident that because of the complexity of the “hands-on” Learning Modules that continual “Tech Support” was also a critical component: and, thus; the need for the “Triad” feature of the “Demonstration Project”.

The “Triad” component simply means:
1)    The selection of the right modules to address the 3 identified “Technological Systems”.
2)    Required teacher upgrade training.
3)    Proper and constant “Tech Support” of the “hands-on” “Learning Modules”.

The success of the “Demonstration Project” was documented via a follow-up story which indicated that by the 1994 – 1995 school year almost 50% of North Dakota’s small K-12 school districts had formed into viable High Tech Cooperatives in order to share the “hand on” Learning Modules and consequently address the required educational components of the (3) identified “Technological Systems”.

From the very onset of the “Demonstration Project” it was GTI that supplied a majority of the appropriate “hands-on” training modules, provided technical support for those modules, and provided upgrade teacher training.  GTI also provided appropriate curriculum and curriculum upgrades required for the modules.
In light of the evident success of the learning modules to meet the K-12 educational needs, GTI created a new corporation known as Global Technology Institute.  The new GTI was created not only to continue offering support of the learning modules, but to also address the unemployed and under employed adult worker who needed the new skill sets required for a 21st century worker.

Consequently, from 1999 – 2001 GTI addressed the workforce needs of the (3) identified “Technological Systems” via the utilization of the “hands-on” Learning modules.  GTI prepared a matrix of 21st century skill sets needed by unemployed and/or underemployed to function in a modern day workplace.

In summary, it is also important to note that during the “Demonstration Project” it was identified that the work of several nationally recognized educators, economists, and manpower specialists were utilized as input providers in order to develop the specific design of the High Tech Equipment used to support the applied “Technological Concepts” Learning Modules.

“After all, if Parnell’s data presented, via his text entitled ‘The Neglected Majority’, was correct; then indeed, at this point in time; we were preparing 60%+ of your K-12 student population in our secondary schools for absolutely nothing.  In addition, if the current data by Mr. Leo Presley, National Institute for Community Excellence is correct then we must recognize that 80% of the workforce required for the year 2000 is already in the workplace today; then indeed, we have a tremendously complex education and training problem confronting us right now”

As we look at today’s unemployment and contrasting skilled worker demands we can readily see that had we as a nation implemented the type of “hands-on” technology training relative to the identified “Technological Systems” that we’d be more globally competitive; and that both our country’s unemployment and skilled worker demands would be greatly mitigated.  GTI can deliver that appropriate type of training system.

Ted Renner Founder

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