3D printing, STEAM are on the rise in classrooms

3D printing is becoming an increasingly important part of educators’ interactive and engaging STEAM learning strategies, a new survey reveals.

As teaching methods progress from more traditional learning environments to more dynamic and active, educators are seeking new ways to help students build important 21st-century skills such a critical thinking and problem solving, according to a new survey from 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot.

The survey is based on more than 1,000 responses from educators across the globe and paints a picture of how 3D printing is becoming more accessible in classrooms.…Read More

Ultimaker unveils Pioneer Program, promoting 3D printing in education

Ultimaker, a 3D printer manufacturer, announced the official launch of the Ultimaker Pioneer Program. The scheme introduces 3D printing and design to North American students – both K-12 and higher education.

As part of the Pioneer Program, educators (‘Pioneers’) can access 3D printing content on the Ultimaker Education website, which can be shared with students. The site welcomes contributions, and users maintain content ownership through Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike and Non-Commercial licensing. Through the Ultimaker Education site, educators throughout North America have access to resources and knowledge that are not commonly available.

“Teaching 3D modeling and printing in our schools is a new educational endeavor,” says Burton Isenstein, Adjunct Assistant Professor at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. “Faculty are on the front lines, figuring out the best methods of teaching as we continue to learn about the topic ourselves.”…Read More

The project-based STEM curriculum that’s big on real-world rigor

A STEM curriculum introduces students to real-world engineering

Berrien Springs Public Schools in rural Michigan started off with a modest enough goal: to add an engineering component to their curriculum in order to draw out-of-district students to their schools and to meet anticipated state standards. But perhaps not even they could have foreseen the sea change that came next.

These days, first graders design a shoe for a traveler going to an extreme climate. Second graders investigate numerical relationships and sequence and structure required in computer programs. Fourth graders develop a vehicle restraint system. Middle and high school students build VEX robots and program them using RobotC software. They also use Autodesk Inventor to create 3D models that are then printed on their own 3D printer. And all grades are doing various levels of coding.

The breakthrough came two years ago when Berrien Springs took a cue from its neighbor to the south, Indiana, and the work they were doing with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a provider of STEM curriculum to 8,000 schools nationwide that takes a problem-based approach to learning focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving and real-world relevance. The curriculum has a strong engineering component, as well as separate units in biomedical science and computer science. A course on cybersecurity will be added in 2017.…Read More

Journey to the student-centered makerspace

Explore a collaborative makerspace where students design the space and take charge of their learning

maker-spaceWhether you know it or not, your students are already making things outside of school. From digital animation and programming to video production and duct tape crafts, it’s surprising the number of outlets students have found to vent their creativity.

So I learned when my school, Wamogo Regional High, decided to harness this expression productively by designing a student-centered makerspace for collaboration, creation, and problem-solving. We wanted a place where students could access materials, equipment and supplies to explore their interests and take on new challenges. And we wanted to create an environment where students could extend their learning, take risks, and build capacity as leaders.

As we designed our makerspace, it was important to consider how our program would fit with both the established core values of our school and our 21st century learning expectations, such as information literacy, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and community and civic responsibility. We knew it all began with the students.…Read More

3D printers give engineering classes a boost

3D printers help students turn designs such as this one into actual models.

As technology transforms learning in classrooms across the nation, 3D printing, in which three dimensional objects are created through a system that successively layers materials on top one another, is taking hold in classrooms–and is helping to attract more students to technology-rich fields such as engineering.

Modern design uses a technology called CAD, which stands for computer-aided design, to represent 3D objects in a digital file. Today’s CAD software lets users create and draw objects in 3D, and those designs are brought to life via 3D printers.

Companies that manufacture 3D printers for education include Z Corporation, Dimension Printers (a Stratasys brand), and 3D Systems Corp.…Read More