If They Build It, They Will Learn
District State: New York
District Website: http://www.gvboces.org/
A broken MakerBot 3D printer inspired a school technician in upstate New York to bring the technology to more students and teachers in the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, a collaborative of 22 rural districts in the western part of the state.
The districts had struggled to acquire the cutting-edge technology needed to shift instruction toward a student-centered model.
Starting in 2015, educators from all grades could attend “If They Build It, They Will Learn,” a three-day workshop during which small teams build 3D printers from a kit, learn how the technology works, and gain insight into which printers they should buy for their classrooms.
And teachers can now immerse the students in the technology, too. At Perry High School in Perry Central School District, about 50 students have helped build seven printers. In one project, a 3D printer is being used to make magnetically mounting, surround-sound speakers for classrooms, to assiststudents who have hearing impairments. In Avon Central School District, all 350-plus students in the elementary school have used the 3D printer.
Educators continue their tech training through an online community where they can exchange creative ideas for printer projects and help solve technical problems.