Each year, a high school technology education teacher in the state of Maryland who best demonstrates excellence in technology education is awarded the High School Technology Education Teacher Excellence Award. This year, the Technology & Engineering Education Association of Maryland (TEEAM) announced that the award goes to Jim Deitrich, a teacher at Liberty High School.
In these 20 years that Deitrich has been teaching technology education in Carroll County, he has contributed to state and national curriculum development and is a trainer for the International Technology and Engineering Educator’s Association’s (ITEEA) Foundations of Technology curriculum. Deitrich is known to engage students through the engineering design process and problem solving in his classes.
Deitrich admits to being surprised to find that he was chosen for this award. His supervisor, Ted Mcnatt, nominated him for this award along with the support from the Maryland State Department of Education and Supervisor for Technology of Education, Luke Ryan.
Mcnatt points out Deitrich’s contribution to ITEEA as well as his expertise and knowledge of the curriculum and hand’s on approach to teaching as reasons for his nomination.
“He does more facilitating than teaching," Mcnatt said. "He guides the students to discover the information they need to understand the concepts rather than just tell them about it."
Now, in his 20th year, Deitrich admits that the field has changed a lot since he began teaching. The field of technology has moved away from the teaching of manipulative skills, such as the use of software, and instead has come to focus more on true engineering, coming up with a concept then moving that concept through to its full development.
“When we’re working with technology today, facts are cheap," Deitrich said. "The Internet can give students formulas and concepts. (Therefore), it’s our responsibility to allow students to take these concepts that are so readily available and learn how to apply them to their own ideas. Learn how to follow through from concept to development in their projects. ”
Encouraging idea development and facilitating the follow-through to the concept realization is how Deitrich continues to teach his students.
There will be an official awards ceremony in February during National Engineers Week (February 19-25) in which Deitrich will be recognized for his contribution to technology education and his dedication to 20 years of students.