HUNTSVILLE — In the age of smartphones, Snapchat and WhatsApp, a group of students in Huntsville are using a more traditional form of communication to help incorporate their math and science skills into a real-world setting.
Michael Mitchell, a teacher at Samuel Walker Houston Elementary School, is helping local students earn their HAM technician license in hopes that the children can operate on some HF frequencies and utilize voice communications or phone bands. Phone bands will allow them to send data packages, emails and text messages using radio waves as opposed to using a cellular device or WIFI.
The training will also give students the ability to communicate with crew members on the International Space Station, which Mitchell is most excited about.
“I want them to be able to incorporate all of their math skills and their science skills to be able to further their education and to open their horizons to different fields they may want to go into,” Mitchell said.
The idea of children wanting to spend the start of their summer can seem baffling to many, but Mitchell explained that children studying for the test are driven by the idea of all of the possibilities that the technical license will provide.
“They thought it was really cool that they could just pick up a radio, not have a cell phone, not have a computer, and could talk to someone like how we talk to someone 50 miles away,” Mitchell said.
These students will look to take their test during the Walker County Amateur Radio Field Day event on June 26. Mitchell explained that pursuing this knowledge and keeping up with the radio is much more than simply chatting back and forth to fellow radio-users, it serves as a creative outlet.
“For the kids, I want them to have that opportunity to be given permission to think outside the box, when school can sometimes be so inside the box,” Mitchell said. “I want them to know that they can take this 1+1 math problem and do amazing things with it.”
The field day event for the Walker County Amateur Radio Club will be held at Josey Park in Huntsville and is open to the public. At this event, attendees will get to see all that these kids have learned and learn a little about radios themselves.