New Technology in Use for Training

The Twin Cities Training Center in Saint Paul, Minn., has recently begun utilizing iPad and smartphone technology both on the shop floor and in the classroom. There are currently 30 iPads available for use with any of the apprentice classes. There is also a strong push to include iPads in skill enhancement courses such as OSHA 10 & 30, ICRA and Armstrong Ceiling. “The Kahoot app is a favorite amongst apprentices and journeymen alike,” said Instructor Matt Price, “as it adds a fun and competitive way to test knowledge learned during course lecture and is a positive learning reinforcement tool.”

The first skill enhancement course in iPad basics and a beginner Bluebeam course will take place this summer. Along with iPads, the training center is utilizing another piece of new equipment called the Hilti PLT 300 laser Layout system. The PLT is specifically targeted for interior systems courses and concrete classes, with additional classes in wood framing to follow. The training center plans to offer a skill enhancement class using the PLT 300 in late July.

The use of iPads in the training center began due to demand from members in the field. Almost all ongoing projects in the metro use iPads in some shape or form, for construction industry programs such as Bluebeam, Plan Grid or Pro Core. “From an educational standpoint, the iPad brings unlimited potential into every class taught,” said Price.

“The improvement to the classroom is tremendous and allows for quicker access to information, new ways to help communicate information to our membership, and increased membership participation during the classes,” he added.

During a recent five-hour Bluebeam class, apprentices learned more about the program than most journeymen in the field currently using Bluebeam know, said WHO. A scale model of the Vikings stadium built by apprentices was made using the program. In just five hours of training, students used the Bluebeam program to download an aerial view of the new stadium and created a scaled down version for the model. With the program, they were able to take accurate measurements as well as find degree angles to help with their scale model.

“It was very interesting and fun to see the students grasp the program and use it in ways that we weren’t anticipating,” said Price.

“Councilwide, iPads are being utilized in the Hermantown, Rochester, Saint Paul, Papillion and Des Moines Training Centers. Finding ways to harness the technology available and empower members to use it to their advantage will help the union thrive well into the future,” said Price.