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Canoes, Cameras, and Shop Class: Updates from the Q.C. Tech Shop


Late last month, vice principal Paul French of Quinte Christian High School reached out to share his latest project: a series of weekly updates from the Q.C. Tech Shop. Students at QCHS have built several canoes, but this marks the first opportunity to follow along online. Paul reports that students have enthusiastically added making and sharing canoe-building videos on YouTube to the weekly schedule.

 Call us biased, but we think building a canoe in a school setting is a fantastic educational opportunity. The time and attention commitment is intense, teaching patience, but the satisfaction in finishing a project is commensurate with the difficulty. It’s a task that calls on a diverse of set of skills, though many can be accomplished with simple hand tools. At the end students can be proud of having helped produce a beautiful, functional work of art, and in order to do so they’ll have to learn to coordinate as a team.

It’s a phenomenon we’ve witnessed before at Bear Mountain – our Kayakcraft companion DVD was actually filmed in a school. However, in this case one of the most interesting aspects of the Q.C. Tech videos is watching students themselves speak knowledgeably about the process. Paul frequently stops to ask the students what they’re working on and receives a detailed answer, from explanations of how they’re using a steambox to prepare the gunwales to why they need to scrape excess epoxy. It’s clear from the replies that these students aren’t just following directions, but learning the ins and outs of the craft.

Paul agrees, reporting that “students from across the spectrum of abilities and gifts continue to enthusiastically enjoy our canoe building class. For many it is the highlight of their day.” The experience doesn’t have to end when the canoe comes out of the shop, either. Q. C. Tech donates their work to fundraisers, so the money can be put to good use by the community. For Paul, that means the positive feelings cut both ways: “building canoes with high school students is one the most enriching and incredible experiences a school or a teacher could ever hope for.”

We’ve enjoyed all the updates so far, and will continue to follow progress at Q.C. Tech. You can check out a sample video in the embedded player above, or browse their channel over on YouTube.