Today I was invited to join Josh Hankamp, the owner of JDH Custom Homes to his Fall Parade of Homes house where he was hosting more than 20 students and their teachers. These students were from the 8th Grade at Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia. They were given the opportunity to spend the day on a field trip learning about possible careers in the construction industry.
They spent the morning at Erhardt Construction where they were given the chance to get some real hands on experience with building a wall and learning more about what goes into construction.
They then came to JDH Custom Homes Parade House in the afternoon. Josh had reached out to some of his contractors who might be willing and able to take some time to speak with the students. Josh was joined by Deb from Carter Lumber Kitchen Design, Mark from Green Edge of Michigan and myself from TruMedia. This eclectic mix of contractors were able to speak to the students about many different facets of residential construction.
Josh was of course able to speak to them from a builder’s perspective, but he was also able to share about his earlier life experience as starting out in the framing sector of the construction industry. Deb was able to speak the the students about design, specifically as it pertains to cabinetry in the kitchen. She spoke about design choices and how she is able to determine the best layout of the space to allow for functionality. Mark spoke to the students about home efficiency and how they are able to perform energy audits on houses to then provide builders and homeowners with a rating for the home’s efficiency.
I was able to speak to the students about the importance of setting up a strong and reliable network infrastructure to assure that all of the devices that need an internet connection are able to have the strongest feed. We spoke about when we should try to hard wire a device to the internet and what devices might be better on a wireless network. We also spoke about how we can make the wireless network in a home stronger and more reliable. We discussed the various types of wire that they might see on a construction site and what they would be used for. I also talked to them about how we set up speakers. What is the difference between stand alone products like Sonos freestanding speakers and having in-ceiling speakers; how they all work and connect to your music source. Finally we spoke about the Internet of Things (IoT); how these devices work and how we can make them work together as a system within the home.
I was SUPER impressed with the students’ questions about the technology that I presented! They asked questions like “How does the internet get to my house?”, “How come my Bluetooth speaker stops working if I move away?”, “How can I make sure that I don’t have LAG when I’m playing my video games with my friends?”, “How can you update older homes for some of these things?” and many more! It’s really wonderful that the schools recognize the importance of getting these students out where they have the opportunity to ask these questions and to get some hands on experience. Field trips like this always make me optimistic about the next generation coming up and when I see students like these, I think our future is looking pretty bright!
Opportunities for students like this were provided by the Home Builders’ Association and ABC Western Michigan. If you are interested in setting up an opportunity with either of these organizations, please check out their websites at www.mygrhome.com or at www.abcwmc.org. If you are interested in teaching your students more about opportunities from a Technology Designer, please feel free to send me a message.