When age doesn't count. VET and mobile technology in Hungary

2013-01-03

MHtE, the Hungarian Association of Welding Technology and Material Testing, has been cooperating with HiST in European pilot projects for the last 5-6 years. MHtE has more than 100 member organizations from all over Hungary, and every year they certify several thousand students and mechanical industry workers. MHtE has managed to implement and start using the brand new methods, tools and services developed in these EU-projects.

MHtE has accumulated a lot of expertise and experience within their organization. The youngest MHtE employee is 62 years of age, but he feels like a 30-year old youngster. Over the last few years they pioneered the use of new technology in several educational sectors. Could they inspire universities and other vocational education and training (VET) schools?

MHtE was one of the first organizations in Europe to support the implementation of virtual welding simulators in their country. It resulted in a reduction of training costs by approx. 30%, and improved the quality of the training. The first virtual welding simulator has only just been implemented in Norway, which is some 6-7 years after MHtE started using the welding simulators in Hungary.

The Activity Based Training (ABT) method was developed during the Leonardo da Vinci MECCA pilot project (2005-2007), which was coordinated by HiST. In 2009 the EU-Commission invited the MECCA project to the 15th anniversary for their Leonardo program. MHtE piloted their first ABT courses in 2008, and has today implemented ABT in their VET activities. The Faculty of Technology at HiST is going to implement ABT in 2013. In these courses MHtE has been using videoconferencing, iPods and Internet resources, and MHtE is eager to participate in new pilot projects in order to develop, test and implement new educational tools and pedagogical methods.

MHtE is partner in the Done-IT project, and is one of the first organizations to implement exams on mobile devices into their training practices. They started using the new Peer Learning Assessment System (PELE) in commercial courses in October 2012, and in December they ran the first exam with 135 questions on a mobile device. In order to support our active partner MHtE, and to facilitate mobile services in areas where Internet bandwidth is limited, HiST has developed a very useful tool dubbed the “Béla box”, which is a portable device which allows PELE to be used in locations without internet. The device is named after MHtE employee Béla Gayer, the aforementioned “30 year youngster”, who originally suggested the device.  

MHtE will be cooperating with HiST in the future too, to improve the quality and efficiency of vocational education and training.

      

The pictures above show students using PELE to answer an exam in a certification-based course in Budapest, October 2012.  

Why does MHtE succeed, even though they don’t receive any governmental funding?

  • They have a strong organization which includes all VET schools, universities and companies all over Hungary.
  • They take part in many EU-funded projects addressing new learning methods.
  • They disseminate knowledge about results and achievements from projects every 3 months to their members.
  • They arrange training activities for their teachers in order to motivate them to investigate and start using new training methods, tools and services.
  • They invite teachers to take part in the projects, on the condition that they start testing and using new training methods, tools and services.
  • They arrange and participate regularly in workshops and conferences in all the major towns in Hungary, and MHtE has made itself highly visible.
  • They invite external organizations, like universities in Hungary, to take part in testing of training methods, tools and services.
  • They arrange every year group trips abroad where staff from their member organizations may participate.
  • They are part of a European network, which makes it is easy to exchange ideas and take part in new international activities.
     

      

Dissemination of mobile technology solutions to students at an educational exhibition in Budapest in 2012.  

Last, but not least, there is also a strong personal element in the success: the MHtE Deputy Manager Béla Gayer. He is a good organizer and administrator who focuses on engaging MHtE’s member organizations and their staff in concrete, new educational and training activities on a regular basis. Participation in international projects is a key factor in order to obtain that. The picture below shows Béla Gayer and his assistant Gabor Markus.

                                     


Encouraging, happy New Year greetings to our online readers from Béla Gayer, Gabor Markus and the HiST team.
03.01.2012

SRS 2.0, PELE 1.5, Eval 1.0 and iLike 1.0 are available for use.