D211 Post: Swedish Educator and Students Visit PHS Applied Tech


Palatine High School Applied Technology Department Chair Mark Hibner discusses manufacturing machines used in his classes.

            For three days last week Karl Mihlberg, head manufacturing teacher at Wilhelm Haglund Gymnasium (school) in Gimo, Sweden, and two students, Niklas Lundmark and Fabian Mattsson toured the Applied Technology Department at Palatine High School. The tour was designed to compare manufacturing classes in both schools.

            Applied Technology Department Chair Mark Hibner said the tour was coordinated in part by Sandvik Coromant, which has a presence in both countries.

            “We have representatives from Sandvik Coromant who serve on our manufacturing advisory board,” Hibner said. “They are also working in Sweden to create a strong workforce in manufacturing and engineering.”

            Mihlberg said the tour was arranged following the principal from Wilhelm Haglund visiting Illinois last year.

            “Our principal was very impressed with Mark and the manufacturing class at Palatine,” Mihlberg said. “She wanted me to come and spend more than one day to learn how things work here and so we could learn from each other.”

            He added that one difference that stood out was class size.

            “We only have about 90 students,” he said. “The amount of students and amount of machinery is much different.”

            Lundmark noticed a few technical differences as well.

Fabian Mattsson, a third year manufacturing student at Wilhelm Haglund Gymnasium in Sweden, practices setting up a machine in the Palatine High School Applied Technology classroom.

            “While [Palatine] uses inches, we are using the metric system,” he said. “Some of the coding here is also a little different.”

            Differences aside, everyone noticed many similarities in their respective programs.

            “The overall programing language, the machines, and how we handle them is all the same,” Mihlberg said. “The struggle Mark and I have with the amount of time we have compared to the amount we want to teach is the same. There’s never enough time.”

            Hibner has found the exchange enjoyable and informative for him as well.

            “They are great people and fun to talk with,” he said. “We have talked about challenges we face in the manufacturing content. We find similarities not only in our challenges, but in our solutions to educating students in the world of manufacturing.”

Karl Mihlberg, head manufacturing teacher at Wilhelm Haglund Gymnasium, discusses classroom procedures with Mark Hibner, PHS Applied Technology Department Chair, during a visit to Palatine.