Long before there was Power Point (OpenOffice's
Impress is the free equivalent), presentations at
training seminars were conducted using overhead projectors and larger-than-life
props of the devices being taught. The U.S. Navy, during World War II,
set up a special facility called the Visual Aid Model Shop located
Radio Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Its charter was to design
and build very large scale models of equipment and tools that service
personnel used while performing their duties. It is kind of funny
to look at the sizes of some of the items, like the 8x size radio
chassis assembly shown in this article's main photograph. As a life-long
builder myself, I would have loved to work in a shop like that
building torso-size electrolytic capacitors and potentiometer bodies
as large as dinner plates. The closest I ever got to it professionally
was while working at Westinghouse Oceanic Division
(now Northrop Grumman) in Annapolis,
Maryland, as a technician building prototype electronics and mechanical
products. One of the bummers of earning my
BSEE degree was having to relegate that kind of work to techs
because my employers thought they were paying me too much to do
Training with Visual Aids
Instructional techniques used by the Navy to train their radio and
radar repairmen can be used by civilian schools.
Miss Hazel Fox, civilian employee of Ship's Service at
Radio Chicago, holds normal sized receiver for comparison
with the giant instructional model made by Visual Aids Department.
Radio Chicago, the primary school of the U. S. Navy's Radio Technician
Training Program, is doing a big and important job in the training
of men to repair and maintain radar equipment, radio direction finders,
u.h.f. equipment, and other such devices. When these men complete
their radio technician training less than one year after entering
the program, they are radio and radar technicians qualified to keep
many types of the Navy's electronic equipment operating at top efficiency.
The thoroughness of the Navy training is, in itself, almost as
great a scientific wonder as the marvelous equipment with which
the students work. To assemble a conglomeration of men of all ages
and backgrounds, possessing varying degrees of aptitude and general
knowledge, put them through schooling comparable to some collegiate
science courses, and within a year bring them to a mutual level
of ability as highly skilled technicians in a field as abstractly
theoretical as electronics, indeed requires a scientific approach.
If anyone method of instruction can claim credit for the rapid development
of these potential radio technicians, that method would be the extensive
visual aid program which is a vital adjunct to the teaching techniques
used at these radio schools.
The training given radio technicians deals only with material
associated with the theory and practice of radio and radar maintenance.
This fact alone streamlines and differentiates the course from college
engineering curricula, and the use of visual aids in presenting
theory and practice to the student has been found to be of invaluable
assistance in the transmission of new knowledge.
The results which have been achieved by means of visual aids in
the field of adult education have aroused the interest of educators
throughout the country.
Lt. (j.g.) A. L. Rogers. W9OZE, Visual Aids Officer of
Radio Chicago, holds a normal sized coil for comparison
with the instructional coil made by visual aids.
Over-all view of the Visual Aid Model Shop located at
Radio Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. In this shop are built
all of the visual aids used to teach radio trainees.
The principles of using the slide rule are taught by
means of a quant model while students make computations
on their individual rules. Chief Radio Technician E. J.
Tripler of Montrose, Colorado. is instructing the class
on the small slide rule while the model on the wall is being
set by Charles Barrett, Specialist (X) 3/C, of Deland, Florida,
a member of the Visual Aids Department for Radio Chicago.
Laboratory where students are building five-tube superheterodynes
as one of their projects before graduation. Note the large
scale model of the receiver mounted on the wall for the
guidance of the students in placing parts.
The Radio Technician Training Program, as it is set up today,
involves several educational helps which are of interest to the
layman and educator alike. The first step in the program requires
that the applicant for radio technician training successfully pass
the special aptitude test which is designed to select only those
best qualified and most likely to complete the prescribed course.
This pre-selection of the students is accomplished by means of the
well-known "Eddy Test". This test which was devised and developed
by Captain William C. Eddy is not a measure of man's technical or
mechanical, background, but it does preclude a better-than-average
working knowledge of high school mathematics and physics. While
these two subjects receive the primary emphasis in the examination,
it is also necessary for the applicant to understand certain phases
of general science, shop practice, elementary electricity, and radio.
The "Eddy Test" is roughly divided into five categories covering
approximately 80 questions on mathematics, physics, shop practice,
electricity, and radio. In the field of mathematics, it is necessary
for the applicant to be able to perform simple mathematical operations
such as cancellations, division, multiplication, addition of algebraic
fractions, square roots, percentages, equations and logarithms,
etc. The part of the test covering physics requires a working knowledge
of heat, light, magnetism, sound, and other phases of general science.
Shop practice covers the use of various tools including micrometers,
hand tools, the reading of shop drawings, the correct use of files,
screws, bolts. soldering irons, etc. The requirements for electricity
and radio cover Ohm's Law, direct current circuits, elements of
alternating current theory, basic receiver principles, vacuum tubes,
and circuit components.
The test breaks down into 40% mathematics, 20% basic physics,
15% basic electricity, 15% basic radio, and 10% shop practice. The
grades received by the students in these tests are entered as part
of their Navy record and these records have resulted in a careful
study of case histories and several revisions in the "Eddy Test",
but basically the test remains about the same as it was at the time
of its adoption in the early part of 1942.
Upon the successful completion of the "Eddy Test" and providing
the candidate meets all of the physical and other requirements of
the Navy, the student is sent to "boot" training where he must first
of all become a sailor before he becomes a specialist. In boot training
the student learns how to sling a hammock, how to tell port from
starboard, and, in general, become a sailor. During this period,
which lasts from five to twelve weeks, he can talk radio and dream
radar to his heart's content but nary a radio tube or textbook does
the candidate see.
Upon completion of "boot" training, the candidate enters pre-radio
school, where during a month's course of intensive study he reviews
high school algebra, learns the elements of electricity and the
fundamentals of shop practices by means of lectures and laboratory
classwork. In this school the student is first introduced to the
visual aid "method of instruction.
The use of the slide rule is taught by means of a giant nine-foot
model of its familiar counterpart. This model is constructed to
scale and is capable of being operated by the instructor. Problems
worked by means of the slide rule are illustrated by the instructor,
who makes the proper setting on the large scale model and the class
then performs the proper operation on their individual rules.
In a similar manner, recognition of tools and the proper use
of various shop equipment is taught. Sharpening of bits and twist
drills becomes easier for the student because giant models of the
grinding operation and cutting surfaces of the tools are available
Thus, when the student completes his work at the pre-radio school,
he is already familiar with many of the visual aids which he will
meet time and again in primary and secondary schools.
In the Primary schools, the student begins his work on radio
equipment and associated test equipment in earnest. Each student,
before his graduation from the primary school, is required to construct
a complete five-tube superheterodyne receiver. The proper placement
of parts and the general layout of the chassis are taught by means
of a giant receiver which is exactly scaled to the original. The
theory of radio operation is also taught by means of this gigantic
receiver, which is large enough for a six-foot man to move around
In the courses in shop practice, the correct use of soldering irons,
micrometers, and hand tools are continued at a high level by means
of large scale models of each of these instruments. In specific
instances, the use of visual aids has cut the training time in almost
unbelievable amounts. In one experiment involving the installation
of an octal tube socket in a chassis and the soldering of wire leads
from a resistor network to certain socket prongs, fifty-five minutes
were lopped off the instruction time by the use of a visual aid.
Before the adoption of this instruction technique, it was the practice
of the instructor to lecture to the students for a one-hour period
on the correct practices involved in performing this operation.
By means of the oversized model constructed by the Visual Aids Department,
the lecture time was cut to a five minute preliminary outlining
of the problem to be done.
n similarly dramatic fashion, the operation of the oscilloscope
and correct interpretation of patterns on its screen is taught to
the students by means. of a 20" oscilloscope which is easily visible
to the entire class during the instructor's lecture-demonstration.
Since most of the features of the more readily portable units are
incorporated on this demonstration 'scope, the class is thoroughly
familiar with the operation of all the controls when he begins work
on the oscilloscope projects.
Jack Phillips, Specialist (X) 1/C of Long Island, New
York, demonstrates the large sized micrometer used for instructional
purposes. The normal sized unit is shown for comparison.
Students are taught correct procedures for maintaining
and servicing soldering irons from this giant model being
supported by Francis Mair, Specialist (X) 1/C of Streatorville,
Illinois, Mr. Mair is the head of the Visual Aids Department
of Radio Chicago.
The testing of meters, which has always been considered an extremely
difficult subject to teach to groups because of the small size of
most meter parts, has been facilitated by means of model meters
which are built eight times normal size. Every detail down to the
last coil turn is duplicated faithfully by the model makers.
In addition to individual pieces of equipment, the student becomes
familiar with several other types of visual aids during his course
of study. Circuits of various pieces of equipment are "blown up"
and built onto a demonstration board. In some working models the
operation of a receiver may be demonstrated and the signal traced
through the circuit by means of electrically operated indicating
devices. Various types of tubes, both receiving and transmitting
become familiar to the student because actual tubes are mounted
on demonstration panels for his inspection. In addition to this
familiarization process, the Visual Aids Department builds giant
stripped-down models of the internal construction of the tube showing
all working parts, without the glass envelope in place.
Great care goes into the construction of each unit turned out
by the visual aids group so that every feature of the model closely
resembles or duplicates the characteristics of the original, including
solder joints, etc.
The great majority of the visual aids in use at Radio Chicago
have been the handiwork of the Visual Aids Department connected
with the school. From a small beginning in November of 1942, when
the first artist was assigned to the school, this department has
expanded until today it is a full-fledged organization working full-time
on the job of preparing training aids for the Navy.
The pioneer artist, upon whom rested the responsibility of organizing
the work, was Chief Specialist (X) Brander, who is now a lieutenant
stationed at the Bureau of Personnel, Training Division, in Washington,
D.C. By January, 1943, this department had grown to three staff
artists and model makers who devoted their entire time to producing
training aids for the rapidly expanding radio school. Today this
department keeps twelve Navy men busy full-time preparing the various
material for classroom instruction. A completely equipped workshop
permits independent operation of the department. Many types of materials
are used in the construction of the models, including plastics,
wood, plywood, sheet steel, and non-priority material. The work
of this department is now under the direction of Lt. (j.g.) A. L.
Rogers, a peace-time radio amateur from Waukegan, Illinois.
In addition to the models used for training, the Navy is also
a staunch champion of the efficacy of motion pictures and slide
films in training operations. A Training Aids Library was set up
at 1212 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, for the purpose of supplying
films and projectors to supplement the visual aids.
By Navy contract, Burton Holmes Films, Inc. produced a 16 mm.
sound movie in the laboratories of Radio Chicago entitled "Radio
Technician Shop Practice". Upon completion of this standard 40 minute
film, 3 more 16 mm. sound films and about 20 slide films (35 mm.)
were produced in a similar manner under the supervision of Navy
instructors at Radio Chicago.
Thus in several different forms, the Navy is making use of various
time-saving visual aids in the instruction of their radio technicians.
It seems certain that in the postwar era, schools and colleges
will be quick to take advantage of what the Navy has learned laboriously.
When students from all walks of life are brought together to learn
the intricacies of any science or abstract subject, new and disassociated
ideas must be presented to them in a simplified, easily grasped
manner if utmost speed of instruction and intelligent comprehension
is to be obtained.
Visual aids have proved to be the ideal medium to achieve this
end, for it is this method that has enabled Radio Chicago to prepare
untrained naval personnel for the exacting task of maintaining the
complex electronic equipment which is the voice, eyes, and ears
of the U. S. Navy.
The Du Mont twenty-inch oscilloscope is being used by Chief Ernest
Sindelar. Chief Instructor of Radio Chicago, to instruct Charles
O. Whitehead, Radio Technician 2/C, of Columbus, Mississippi, on
correct operating procedure.
Posted March 3, 2015