I love hearing about how schools, camps and other educational institutions are incorporating 3D printing into classrooms and programs, and how 3D printing companies are getting involved in doing so. Currently, it’s almost a prerequisite for 3D printer and software manufacturers to incorporate some sort of educational outreach into their businesses, as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education becomes more and more of a universal priority. Some companies have released printers designed specifically for classrooms, while others have built entire educational programs and curricula.
AIO Robotics, creators of the multi-functional Zeus 3D printer, designed their own educational program called the Zeus Classroom. The printer, known for being incredibly easy to use as well as multipurpose, is already a favorite of many educational institutions, but AIO Robotics offers a pretty nice deal for educators wanting to start implementing 3D printing in their classrooms. The package includes five Zeus printers, five extra extruders and scanner turntables, and sixty spools of filament, in addition to live video classes and extended support.
Frequently we like to highlight successful and creative STEAM programs, particularly those that incorporate 3D technology, and AIO Robotics recently provided an excellent case study in the Locke JetSpace, an interactive classroom and makerspace at the Alain Leroy Locke College Preparatory Academy in Los Angeles. The space was created in the school’s former library, and among its creative tools is a Zeus 3D printer.
According to Learning Director Agustin Molfino, the majority of the students using the JetSpace had never encountered 3D printing before, but they’ve taken to it quickly and have created over 200 3D printed objects on their Zeus printer, including 3D printed badges for the “Challenge System,” an initiative in which students earn badges and points for completing various challenges within the space.
“The value of the printer (in my opinion) is that it allows students to create durable, polished learning artifacts that are functional and expression of themselves,” Molfino told AIO Robotics. “This is not the norm in education.”
The students themselves lead classes in 3D printing and design, as well as producing their own art shows. One of the keys to the JetSpace’s success is the fact that so much of it is student-managed. Staff members are there for guidance, but the students are largely in control; they manage a music studio within the space, as well as programs implemented with outside partners such as Vans and NASA. Thus, in addition to learning about technology and design, the students are also gaining valuable skills in management and self-motivation.
Besides the 3D printer, the JetSpace also houses virtual reality headsets, recording equipment, iPads, invention kits and assorted maker tools, as well as plenty of good old-fashioned books. The construction of the space was implemented by charter school system Green Dot Public Schools, which took over the failing Locke High School in 2008, and design collective No Right Brain Left Behind. The outdated school library, which had gone largely unused for years, was the perfect location for the new project-based learning center.
So far, the JetSpace, which was launched in 2014, has been a hit with the students. Most young people thrive in an interactive environment as opposed to a lecture hall, and the multitude of creative opportunities the space offers keep the students interested and engaged. It doesn’t hurt that it’s full of really cool technology, too.
“Having these amazing resources for the students makes them want to learn. Instead of writing a monotonous essay for a class, they are able to create something real and tangible that they can be truly proud of and show off to friends and family,” said AIO Robotics after their recent visit to the JetSpace. “This further drives their hunger to learn more and improve their skills with real hands-on experiences that are also preparing them for their future careers with the added benefit of providing a safe and productive pastime to immerse themselves in.
“We are ecstatic that our Zeus has become a beacon of inspiration to so many students and are great advocators of this Maker-Space movement. We look forward to seeing where these students will go in life, ready and equipped with the knowledge for the jobs of the future.”
Discuss further over in the Zeus 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: AIO Robotics]