"Providing 'real world' experiences in the classroom offers a unique opportunity for [students] to discover their passions."
Learning a skill is one matter; preparing for how to use it is a different process.
Concerning data suggests college graduates enter the real world unprepared for their actual jobs, and high school students don't fair much better. That's why Francis Tuttle Technology Center emphasizes real-world work in all of its programs.
Recently, Francis Tuttle Computer Science Academy students received some outside assistance to show them what to expect in a real job. OG&E agreed to partner with the district and give students some real-world examples.
"I'm going to be doing presentations in my job in the future, so it's an introduction to the business side of this field," Ethan Smith, a third-year academy student who attends Edmond Santa Fe High School, said. "Plus, it's something that I can put on my resume and say I worked on this with a real company and with real professionals. I feel like this will be very beneficial for me in the future."
OG&E had some of its management team come to Andy Harbert’s CSA Capstone class and work directly with students on projects. One group developed an app that would assist with counting and carrying over vacation hours, a process that currently takes several hours to do manually.
Another group worked on a cybersecurity project. The details were fictional, but the process of working with a client and managing project changes put students in a real-world situation.
"OG&E is committed to supporting education, and this partnership with Francis Tuttle is a great way to help energize these high school students' future careers," said Mark Silvers, Director Learning & Workforce Development at OG&E. "Providing 'real world' experiences in the classroom offers a unique opportunity for them to discover their passions. Through our guest lectures and business problem-solving scenarios, our hope is to inspire students to pursue one of the many diverse career paths in the energy industry. We would be thrilled to have any one of these students come work for OG&E someday."
Real-world applications of computer science helped Francis Tuttle students to see the many opportunities that exist in the industry. They understand how they fit in the new economy and the skills they can use to succeed.
"This capstone experience is distinctive for our students,” Harbert said, “as they worked to learn and apply current industry technologies and produce software and other deliverables that satisfy real customer requirements, all the while developing teamwork and communication skills. This experience will serve them well as they prepare for college and future careers."