Dean Baker – Francis Tuttle Technology Center
It’s man over machine in this high-tech classroom.
Dean Baker didn’t want to teach the way he’d been taught. The manufacturing-machining technology instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center said his instructor gave his students a blueprint and said, “Please write.” The students wrote code, and the instructor made corrections where they were needed.
That was 40 years ago, and today the self-proclaimed G-code guy is teaching his students to write similar G-codes that manipulate machines to perform tasks. But today’s students are working with a high-tech machine powered by the Siemens SINUMERIK 828D control, which is giving his students game-changing skills that employers seek.
The 828D has a conversational feature that teaches students what is happening behind the machines when they push a button. Conversational computer numerical control machines have come about as a result of a shortage of workers qualified to write code.
Baker serves on the SkillsUSA board of directors, and the forward-thinking instructor was recently highlighted in Technical Education Post, a journal for technical, technology and STEM education.
At Francis Tuttle, Dean stresses three things with his students:
- Safety – the most important lesson he teaches.
- Being mindful of others and their surroundings.
Dean said he borrowed his philosophy of teaching from Albert Einstein, who said, “Education is not the learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.”