The hole puncher: VET learning and practice
Title: The hole puncher: a mechanical international project
Educational level: Vocational and Educational Training - Higher level cycle in mechanical manufacturing production programming
Students from Vocational and Educational Training centres in different European countries with the desire to learn and work in collaboration. A group of teachers wanting to innovate and use ICTs. The perfect combination for creating an eTwinning project and winning a 2012 National prize.
In fact, the students and teachers of the Higher Level Training Cycle in Mechanical Manufacturing in three centres in Spain, Italy and Germany have been the protagonists of The Hole Puncher: a mechanical international project. In the CIP Virgen del Camino centre (Pamplona, Navarre) the first year students in Mechanical Manufacturing Production Programming have been the ones involved in the project, coordinated by their teacher Javier Muñoz Nieva.
The teachers of the subject of Mechanical Manufacturing in the three centres had a very clear idea of the direction they wanted their project to take after making contact through eTwinning. In the words of Javier Muñoz “The aim was to design and build a mechanical device among the three VET centres. It could be a mechanical piece which was not particularly complicated, which would adapt to the initial idea of the project, so that we agreed on the manufacture of a Hole Puncher following the suggestion of the German partner”.
And many of the activities which the students from 17 to 20 carried out at the three centres during the 2010/2011 school year, revolved around the making of the hole puncher. A working process which involved not only the design, technical analysis, programming and subsequent machining of each one of the parts of the mechanical device, but also communications, and exchange of information, experiences and techniques among the students of the three partner centres.
The project stands out for a number of reasons. One of them is its excellent integration into the curriculum. In the Spanish school, the programming of the project was included in four modules which the students had to pass (Graphic Interpretation, Process Defining, Process Execution and English) and counted on the participation of other members of the school community to carry out the activities involved in the presentation. Moreover, the close collaboration among the teachers of the different schools gave rise to well structured activities and a defined work plan, even including details of the tools and the language to be used in each one. This coordination has been essential for fulfilling the established time frame and determining the technical aspects related with the mechanical device to be manufactured: unit systems, drafting standards, engineering tolerance, drawing file compatibility, standardization of threads, springs, screws, etc.
Once the organizational bases of the project had been fixed, the objectives decided on and the final mechanical device selected, it was just a question of getting down to work ... and that's just what they did! Once the project had been explained to the students and they had been given access to the TwinSpace, the first task, performed at the beginning of the year, was the one which would provide the basis for the future collaboration among all the participants: the introduction of the students, schools, cities and countries by means of activities published on the TwinSpace. After this first contact, the students from each school began to design three different parts of the hole puncher using a 3D programme, “with the aim of manufacturing an initial prototype, which would serve to detect errors and be able to correct them in the subsequent phase of serial production of the puncher”.
Javier tell us that “during the last quarter of the year, we began the serial production of the sets, with the same criterion for distributing the parts in the manufacturing as we had agreed for the prototype: in each school they would manufacture the parts necessary to make 6 hole punchers, so it was also necessary to send the parts from one city to another.”
Therefore after the machining, the parts were exchanged by ordinary international mail among the three countries, so that the students from the three schools could assemble them. The result was six mechanical devices, six hole punchers, each one made up of parts technically studied, designed and manufactured by students in the three countries participating in the project. Given this work process, can there be any doubt about the collaborative nature of the project? In this regard Javier comments that “we regularly exchanged drawing files in compatible formats among the three schools and we gradually modified some parts of the original design and also agreed on aspects related to: engineering tolerance, standards to be applied, lists of materials to be used in the manufacturing, CNC programmes, etc.”, using the TwinSpace, e-mail and Skype, with which they did several video conferences.
“Coinciding with the end of the project, the first week of June 2011 and at the suggestion of the German partner, we organized a meeting at the Weissenburg school (Germany), which was attended by a representative group of teachers and students from each school, and which served to get to know the day to day routine of their classes, their educational system, to prepare future collaborative projects and to get to know this small Bavarian city” Javier comments.
Thanks to the production of final documents on the complete development of the project, like a summary of information, images and videos on the project in each country and a final assessment, we have been able to follow the work process which has resulted in six hole punchers as the tangible product and innumerable intangible benefits: the increase in the motivation of teachers and students, who felt part of a European team, and the improvement in the students' level of English, as it was the language chosen for communication, among others.
Javier remarks that “it increased our level of satisfaction, being able to have the devices assembled in each of the schools, knowing that they were international pieces manufactured by the students from the same modality but from different countries. It was also very gratifying and appreciated, both by the students, their parents and the teachers, that a representative group of the students participating in the project was able to make the trip to Germany on which, as well as getting to know how VET is organized there, we were able to cement our relationship with a view to future projects in common.”
But let's let the students give their opinions. One of them, Carlos Martínez recognizes that “the project quickly began to take shape, a very interesting project from the student's point of view as nobody thought that we would be doing something like this at the start of our first year in vocational and educational training. To meet Germans and Italians via the webcam, use eTwinning as a forum, be able to talk amongst ourselves, get to know our tastes, and the region where our foreign partners live using Powerpoint presentations". Another student Darío Prados emphasizes “the collaboration among the students and teachers which helped us to foment the relationship among the participants in the project and to learn the importance of working in a team. We spent an intense few days getting to know another culture, the German one, another way of working in the German school, we visited their workshops, one of their factories and we shared from normal classes to other activities with them. This served to confirm to us that we had done a good job in general, collaborating among us all and that there are always things that you can learn from another culture and of course also offer from ours”. Another student thought that “all the participants were satisfied, even more so having travelled to Germany to complete the project”.
It was definitely a project with a marked collaborative nature which fomented relations among students of mechanics and gave rise to an exchange of experiences among teachers from different countries in a very innovative way ... typically eTwinning! Don't miss the presentation of the project which was shown at the National eTwinning Prize Giving 2012:
Enter the TwinSpace of the project and access the materials which show the whole work process in a video:
eTwinning Awards 2012
- Carpe Nuntium: voilà nuestra "FrItalianza" and learn Spanish
- Make full use of the Internet but "don't get caught in the net"
- Water is the star in Waterpedia - The elixir of life
- The hole puncher: VET learning and practice
- Family Lab, teaching and learning values
- Nos encontramos en el camino - We'll meet on the road
- Annual eTwinning Conference 2012: European award ceremony
- Entrega de Premios nacionales eTwinning 2012
- Live Broadcast National Awards eTwinning 2012 and European Annual Conference
- A Taste of Maths (ATOM), who says no to a sweet?
- The challenge of reading. Europe:Reading is also the future
- Study, practise and teach ICTs with ICT4U
- GOAL! Go outside and learn, real Maths
- Travelling creativity in 'Art on the Move'
- Ganadores de los Premios Nacionales eTwinning 2012