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techdirections November 2013 : Page 13

Guidelines for Maintaining the CTE/TE Lab By Chris Zirkle zirkle.6@osu.edu C AREER and technical and technology educa-tion labs are character-ized by the equipment they contain, and the responsibility for the maintenance of this equipment falls largely on the instructor, with support from the school administration. Maintenance of equipment, tools, and the physi-cal facilities is an “additional duty as assigned” for the CTE and technol-ogy education teacher— it comes with the teaching responsibility. This article offers guidance for effectively addressing that responsibility. General house-keeping and sanita-tion —Classrooms and O labs need to be regularly maintained via regular “cleanup,” usually daily. This can be as-signed to students through rotation charts that allow each student to participate in a variety of tasks over time. O Lighting, ventilation, and heating/cooling —These Areas of Concern The best system for maintenance is one that is planned in ad-vance—not on an ad hoc basis when equipment breaks down. A maintenance plan addresses four important areas of concern: O Equipment maintenance —A Inspection — This involves visual and tactile examination of tools and equipment to detect potential problems. Inspections should be scheduled and logged. O Minor service — Many pieces of equip-ment require periodic minor service. This can include tasks like sharpening blades, adding lu-bricating oil to moving parts, or changing an ink cartridge. O O Stocking of parts/materi-als —As these items are obtained, planned process is needed for addressing equipment maintenance, as many pieces of equipment need routine and preventative maintenance. O Tool maintenance —Tools also need to be regularly inspected to make sure they are in proper working order. Chris Zirkle is associate professor, Department of Workforce Education and Development, College of Educa-tion and Human Ecology, Ohio State University, Columbus. systems also require regu-lar checking to ensure proper opera-tion. While they may not fall under the instructor’s direct respon-sibility, it’s im-portant to be aware of any issues and to report them to the appropriate person who does have responsibility for them. Routine and Preventative Maintenance Routine and preventative main-tenance is used to deter, detect, and remedy potential problems. In a CTE or technology classroom or lab, rou-tine and preventative maintenance falls under four categories: they need to be stored appropriately. This task can involve students if ap-propriate. Checklists and computer databases can be developed to keep track of items. O General housekeeping —This is one of the most important tasks for the CTE and technology educa-tion instructor. Keeping items in their proper places is key to having a safe environment, and it also aids with the efficient use of instructional time. Routine and preventative mainte-nance is regularly scheduled service, designed to prevent breakdown and extend the life of equipment. A record-keeping system should be set up to log these tasks at periodic intervals. If required by a manufacturer, rou-tine and preventative maintenance absolutely must be done. From a liability standpoint, failure to comply www.techdirections.com CTE/TE 13

Guidelines for Maintaining the CTE/TE Lab

Chris Zirkle

<br /> CAREER and technical and technology education labs are characterized by the equipment they contain, and the responsibility for the maintenance of this equipment falls largely on the instructor, with support from the school administration. Maintenance of equipment, tools, and the physical facilities is an “additional duty as assigned” for the CTE and technology education teacher— it comes with the teaching responsibility. This article offers guidance for effectively addressing that responsibility.<br /> <br /> Areas of Concern<br /> The best system for maintenance is one that is planned in advance— not on an ad hoc basis when equipment breaks down. A maintenance plan addresses four important areas of concern:<br /> <br /> • Equipment maintenance—A planned process is needed for addressing equipment maintenance, as many pieces of equipment need routine and preventative maintenance.<br /> • Tool maintenance—Tools also need to be regularly inspected to make sure they are in proper working order.<br /> • General housekeeping and sanitation— Classrooms and labs need to be regularly maintained via regular “cleanup,” usually daily. This can be assigned to students through rotation charts that allow each student to participate in a variety of tasks over time.<br /> • Lighting, ventilation, and heating/cooling—These systems also require regular checking to ensure proper operation. While they may not fall under the instructor’s direct responsibility, it’s important to be aware of any issues and to report them to the appropriate person who does have responsibility for them.<br /> <br /> Routine and Preventative Maintenance<br /> Routine and preventative maintenance is used to deter, detect, and remedy potential problems. In a CTE or technology classroom or lab, routine and preventative maintenance falls under four categories:<br /> <br /> • Inspection— This involves visual and tactile examination of tools and equipment to detect potential problems. Inspections should be scheduled and logged.<br /> • Minor service— Many pieces of equipment require periodic minor service. This can include tasks like sharpening blades, adding lubricating oil to moving parts, or changing an ink cartridge.<br /> • Stocking of parts/materials— As these items are obtained, they need to be stored appropriately. This task can involve students if appropriate. Checklists and computer databases can be developed to keep track of items.<br /> • General housekeeping—This is one of the most important tasks for the CTE and technology education instructor. Keeping items in their proper places is key to having a safe environment, and it also aids with the efficient use of instructional time. <br /> <br /> Routine and preventative maintenance is regularly scheduled service, designed to prevent breakdown and extend the life of equipment. A record-keeping system should be set up to log these tasks at periodic intervals.<br /> <br /> If required by a manufacturer, routine and preventative maintenance absolutely must be done. From a liability standpoint, failure to comply with regularly scheduled maintenance can cause serious problems, especially if equipment breakdown results in injury to a student.<br /> <br /> Student Participation in Maintenance<br /> Having students involved in the maintenance process can have instructional value, helping them develop an appreciation for the need for preventative maintenance. A rotation system should be devised so all students can have an opportunity to participate. However, caution is advised regarding student involvement— instructors should not overreach with student abilities. Primary responsibility for maintenance lies with the instructor, and if he or she has any reservations regarding a student’s ability or responsibility, then little or no involvement is advised.<br /> <br /> Equipment Repair<br /> When equipment is not functioning, instructional time can be lost. Students who were working on lab projects may have to be assigned to other tasks while repairs are dealt with. Malfunctioning equipment also “costs” instructor time, as arrangements must be made to have repairs made. Needless to say, though, broken equipment must be repaired and students should not have access to it until it is fixed. To do otherwise creates an instructor liability.<br /> <br /> Equipment repairs must be budgeted by educational institutions. It is unrealistic to believe a lab full of equipment used by students in a learning atmosphere will never need repair. A portion of a program’s budget must be allocated for repairs.<br /> <br /> Many CTE and technology education instructors are adept and perhaps qualified to perform extensive repairs on equipment in their labs. However, caution is also advised in this area. If an instructor makes a significant repair and the equipment subsequently malfunctions, resulting in injury, the instructor may be deemed responsible. So, if any doubt exists about making a repair, the instructor is wise to let a factory-authorized repair person perform the service.<br /> <br /> Maintenance and Record Keeping<br /> Every instructor should devise an effective system for keeping track of equipment maintenance and repair. This will facilitate communication and makes for an efficient learning environment. While optimizing learning time, a record-keeping system also protects equipment investment. For both class and laboratory records, it’s best to set up an electronic database. Each piece of equipment should be cataloged, along with all relevant information.<br /> <br /> Maintenance Agreements<br /> Maintenance agreements similar to those found on consumer goods can sometimes be purchased for equipment in CTE and technology education classrooms and labs. The issue for instructors is whether or not these agreements are a good idea. In the light of the fact that students are using equipment, and some misuse/abuse can occur, the benefits can outweigh the financial costs. Determining what items should be covered may be affected by such factors as frequency of use, typical costs of repairs, and availability of service.<br /> <br /> Institutional Maintenance<br /> In some instances, maintenance of equipment and facilities may come under the auspices of the school building or district custodial and maintenance personnel. Internal maintenance, such as painting, electrical repairs, and some other custodial tasks are usually requested through the building administrator. Instructors need to be aware of “where the line is drawn” for these tasks, especially for those working in school districts with unions and negotiated agreements where completion of these tasks is clearly defined.<br /> <br /> External maintenance that involves someone outside the school system typically is coordinated through the school administrator who deals with funding or the school business manager. This ensures proper purchase of and payment for services. Instructors should not contract for outside maintenance on their own without administrator approval.<br /> <br /> Summing It Up<br /> In summary, career and technical education and technology education instructors need to take responsibility for the entire maintenance process. This involves addressing:<br /> <br /> • Which items need maintenance services;<br /> • The type of maintenance service that is required for each item;<br /> • Who will perform the maintenance on each item;<br /> • When the maintenance service is to be performed on each item;<br /> • How maintenance is to be paid for; and<br /> • If student participation in maintenance services is appropriate.<br /> <br /> Chris Zirkle is associate professor, Department of Workforce Education and Development, College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University, Columbus.<br /> zirkle.6@osu.edu

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