Community Resources in Your Backyard to Start Making in the Classroom/AfterSchool

Preschool1The Maker Movement is a revolution in tech and creative learning that is rapidly expanding around the globe, changing the fact of K-12 education, hands-on learning and after-school programs along the way. It has some pretty exciting implications in STEM, STEAM, electronics and IoT, especially for educators who are in a place to introduce it into the classroom and get kids excited about these new tools and technologies.

3D design is the wave of the future, and kids in school these days have access to a wealth of technology and information, such as Arduino, that simply didn’t exist in the past. There are plenty of resources available to help facilitate the transition of 3D technology into the classroom, but it’s also a good idea to consider how community resources can help as well. As teachers prepare to bring 3D printing technology into the classroom, let’s stop and think about different types of resources you might be able to find in your own backyard.

Maker Faires

Maker Faires are community events that showcase and celebrate the maker movement and the grassroots involvement in it. It’s a great way to get involved on a local level and to leverage the knowledge and skill of those in the surrounding communities. Even better, you can take your students and get them involved in making things themselves. You can learn more on the Maker Faire website.

See What Other Schools Are Doing

Educators involved in the Maker Movement are eager to help others learn and to grow together as a community. Take a look at this curated list from Bob Pearlman, an expert on project-based learning and innovation in education. It has plenty of great ideas about how you can see 3D printing in action in other arenas.

FabLabs

Fab labs are small-scale workshops that offer personal introductions to 3D printing. They are located all over the country and are usually equipped with a wide variety of flexible computer controlled tools that can help you cut your teeth on the 3D printing process. Check out this site to get a sense of where they are located – it might be a great idea for a field trip.

MakerSpaces

Makerspaces are creative spaces where people interested in learning more about 3D printing can talk, discuss and share information about their interests in the Maker Movement. Teachers and educators can tap into these, often online, gatherings for information about purchasing 3D printers, and free resources such as software, electronics, craft and hardware tools that can help you make the most of your 3D printing experience.

Museums

Many museums are now experimenting with 3D printing, too! The British Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum allow visitors to download and print 3D replicas of antiques and artifacts. This can be an excellent way to bring 3D printing into the classroom and provide objects of educational value to your students.

Local Libraries

Check the programs that your local libraries have scheduled. 3D printing is such a hot topic right now that many libraries are offering lectures, interactive courses and meetups for people who are interested in learning more about the technology.

These are just a few of the backyard resources that you can tap into in order to enhance your knowledge of 3D printing and all it can offer. 3D technology is certain to play a bigger and bigger role in the classroom over the years, so now is a great time to jumpstart your learning!

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jul/21/chemputer-that-prints-out-drugs

http://www.economist.com/node/18114221

http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/

http://mashable.com/category/3d-printing/

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