Kai Chan, Career and Technical Education
Tech parents know that one thing that makes the school unusual is its engineering requirement - DDP in ninth
grade and DE in tenth grade for all students. But many of us do not know much more than that - the details about
what goes on in these courses remains a mystery. So we asked Digital Electronics Teacher Kai Chan to shed a little
light on the subject:
What courses do you teach, which are your favorites, and why?
I'm currently teaching one section of Digital Electronics and four sections of Digital Systems Design, a course in
the Electro-Mechanical Major. I enjoy teaching these classes because they are project-based, and not your traditional high school classes.
Is this program unique to Tech?
There are many STEM high schools that offer some kind of electronics course, but as an elective. Many PLTW high schools offer DDP, POE and DE to 11th and 12th graders.
How do students react to learning about electronics in high school? Do some of them just not "get it", and if so, how do you help those students along?
I've been teaching DE for seven years and have had many students struggle in this class, usually about 10%. In terms of how to help those students, I'm still searching for the answer. Scaffolding lessons seem to help. Many students do enjoy the class because it's hands-on and different from their traditional core courses.
Tell us about your own educational background, and what attracted you to teaching. I gather you had a career as a software engineer before teaching, what made you change?
After I graduated from Tech, I received a BS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from SUNY at Buffalo. My math teacher at Tech, Mr. Weinstein, had a big influence on me. I remember vividly how passionate he was about teaching mathematics. He truly loved this stuff. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up, so here I am!
What is your favorite thing about Tech?
I love the diversity of our student population. I believe we have the best bunch of kids.
Please tell us about your extracurricular activities at Tech with clubs and the like.
I'm the Chess Team adviser and a board member of the BTHS Alumni Foundation, Long Island Chapter.