Students Became Experts in Technical Writing at Ozaukee High School
A special group of students at Ozaukee High School in Wisconsin participated in the 2011 MATE International ROV competition held in Houston. As a result, the team won an in-pool challenge at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s neutral buoyancy lab. Overall, the team finished second amongst the participants.
“Students became experts in technical writing, accounting, public relations, presenting, engineering and problem solving. Employers will want to get their business cards to these young adults because they will lead the next generation,” according to high school science teacher Terry Hendrikse and head of the Ozaukee winning team.
While this might sound like an everyday science project, the students had to do more for NASA’s stiff competition. Not only did they need to create a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), but they also had to create a 20-page technical document explaining the vehicle, what it does, and how it does it.
It’s no surprise that technical writing is a part of this technical competition as it allows others who see the project (including NASA) and to implement the technology in other projects, as applicable and usable. This document can then be used for future development of the ROV for the next team or perhaps as a guideline for the new team members as they come on to compete in future contests.
With careful planning, the 12-senior team carefully created the ROV and then took it to regional competitions before ending up in Houston for the final competition. But as with any good technical writing and development team, their experience together helps to foster a stronger outcome.
And since the 12 seniors (out of 14 total team members) are graduating this year, it seems a new team will step into very big shoes next year. At least there’s a technical document in place to help the new team members see what they need to do – and what they need to surpass in the next competition.