Automotive Service Association (ASA)

VISION's Think Tank builds link between industry and educators

Organizers of the 2013 VISION Hi-Tech Training and Expo at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan. reported the event's first Educator Think Tank training sessions were successful with the automotive repair educators attending the event. The Educator Think Tank focused on providing high school, vo-tech and college instructors with 21st century skills, resources and teaching methods to train the service industry workforce of tomorrow.

"This was the best opportunity I know to get most of your annual training hours for NATEF/AYES," said Joe Davis, an instructor at Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, Colo. "'Beyond belief' networking for educators. Plus the expo, with the latest and greatest in tools and equipment."

"This was my third year attending VISION, and it's been interesting to see how the conference is evolving to meet the industry's needs," said Nathan Banke, director of business development, ConsuLab, Quebec City, Canada. "By integrating the Educator Think Tank with their conference, VISION is creating an essential link between industry and education. I can't wait for next year."

VISION's educator program launched Friday, March 8, with 10 sessions specifically dedicated to the special needs of instructors. The need for laptops in the classrooms and how to get them, online resources for supplementing curriculum, best practices in keeping your program viable and attracting the best students, and teaching methods that go beyond PowerPoint presentations were a few of the topics. These educator-focused sessions were designed to demonstrate how today's automotive repair training programs can be creative, vibrant and relevant, driving enthusiasm and improving the connections between students and educators, as well as with school administrators and support staff.

"If you are an automotive educator and want to improve your instructional skills to make your class a place that students are excited to attend, then VISION is the place to do it," added John King, an educator with Lincoln College of Technology in Columbia, Md.

More than 200 educators from 17 states and Canada attended the inaugural Educator Think Tank program. The 2013 VISION Hi-Tech Training & EXpo hosted attendees from 37 states, Australia and Canada. Nearly 3,500 automotive service professionals total -- 330 of them first-timers -- attended the event, and the expo featured more than 125 exhibitors.

"Launching the Educator Think Tank was a critical component to VISION's continued success," said Sheri Hamilton, ASA-Midwest executive director and VISION show manager."In order for the automotive repair industry to remain vibrant, we must ensure educators have the tools, resources and skills needed to teach in the 21st Century classroom. We're excited about the expanding partnership VISION will have with industry educators and trainers."

Plans are under way for next year's event, to be held March 6 to 9, 2014 at the Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Kan.