Creating The Next Generation Of Product DevelopersToday’s post is from guest blogger Kevin Goscha, Technology Director at Currey Ingram Academy.
Currey Ingram Academy has partnered with Griffin Technology to enhance our 3D design and programming class for 9-12th grade students. Last year students in the class designed and 3D printed phone cases, this year we are printing, assembling and programming open source robots called Mini Skybots that use Arduino processors. This project introduces students to STEM toolsets like 3D rendering software, 3D printing processes, electronics and programming languages while reinforcing real world skills like communication, collaboration, and creativity. The process of participating in this project-based class allows students to work in teams according to their strengths and interests. This authentic experience is augmented by the access Griffin gives students to meet industrial designers and prototyping technicians.
This year Griffin is again hosting a class field trip where the students have the opportunity to tour their facility and learn more about what they do there. We also plan on returning later in the year to present our projects. Last semester students were inspired to learn that they had suffered some of the same setbacks as professional engineers. This understanding made the possibility of obtaining a career in engineering or industrial design more tangible to my students. The iterative design process also greatly impacted the students, lending weight to the idea that refining and reworking a project over time can lead to an amazing product.
So far this semester students have enjoyed learning Google Sketchup to create 3D models. Currently they are working on designing whiteboard marker holders that will be printed and used in classrooms. They will later apply these skills editing the open source designs for the minskybots the class will be building. Some of the students will choose to learn how to program the robots. Currey Ingram is fortunate to have very small class sizes, so we can facilitate individualized learning. For the seven students in the 3D/programming class we have three teachers available to support the students in their area of need or interest, often working one-on-one with teachers on an given task. I will post a follow up about our progress and any happy surprises that arise during our experimentation and learning.