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Shrode selling a new idea at WDC

Photo by Brian Hansel Mike Shrode has joined the Wadena-Deer Creek faculty to teach engineering technology education.

Mike Shrode has been around and he has abilities in all directions. Now he is charting a new course.

Beginning this week he will be teaching a Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) class from his classroom at WDC Elementary, a technology that has been around for 25 years but is brand-new to the WDC curriculum.

CAD technology is only the beginning of what Shrode plans to teach.

Shrode will tell you that a big part of any teacher's job is sales, with education as their product. The students and the administration have to buy into what the teacher is selling.

"What administration wants to know is 'are the kids excited, is the program growing, are we increasing our achievement levels?'" said Shrode.

Shrode will spend a good share of his time this school year in Room 17 at the Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School. In addition to CAD, the industrial tech instructor will be teaching a photo class and a tech access class. Tying the educational requirements together with his class room projects will keep Shrode busy this year and there are plenty of questions to be answered. Some of the seas that Shrode will sail have been charted. Others have not.

The future includes a new class room at the WDC Secondary School being built on West Colfax - a spot Shrode hopes to occupy when the 2012-2013 school year begins. As an industrial tech instructor Shrode has taught CAD, carpentry, welding, automotive, furniture building, engineering design and has built wind tunnels, high-efficiency cars, catapults and large scale cookers.

What Shrode intends to do in his Engineering Technology Education classes is to apply concepts to the creation of devices. His students in Henning built a catapult that would toss a rock 20 percent farther than an ordinary catapult simply by putting two fulcrums into the device - a concept which they had learned in physics.

Shrode has also worked in the private sector and has had first-hand experience with engineering projects that have a specific set of parameters. The engineers he worked with were given a problem to solve and a deadline for when it had to be delivered. They delivered. That is some of the reality that Shrode wants to expose his students to at WDC.

"You have to solve problems and you have to come up with solutions," Shrode said.

Shrode considers the Internet to be one of the most powerful learning tools in the last century. From his experience as a teacher he has found that one of the biggest stumbling blocks for any student has been accessing information on the Internet. For an engineer, knowing where to look is basic stuff. They use it to help them form a concept, back it up with good, solid facts, and then sell it to someone else.

"I was finding that kids didn't really know how to use technology to make a good presentation," Shrode said.

Shrode's tech access class will take students into that world. They will be able to not only find what they are looking for but recognize it when they see it. They will also learn to recognize the "blarney" that infects the Internet. Like many instructors, Shrode dislikes Wikipedia, an Internet website that masquerades as an encyclopedia. By knowing the right Internet sources to access, students can engineer solutions to Shrode's classroom problems that will work.

"The biggest goal will be teaching them about life," Shrode said.