Last week in EdTech 501, I was asked to read the New Media Consortium publication Horizon Report 2012 K-12 edition. This report was filled with information about the effective use and future of technology in the classroom. The most beneficial aspect of this report is the timeline that it presents to give educators a reason of what is going to be implemented/ready to implement at what time. Furthermore, it was comforting for me to read this publication because I felt a bit more ahead of the curve than I believe many educators would feel. I am lucky to teach at a 1:1 laptop school that is currently trying out new technology such as the Google Glass, tablet/laptop combinations, 3D printing, etc. While I am not well-versed in how to use all of these technologies, I know that the tech support members are there to help me when I AM ready to use them in my classroom…..so, I decided to research one of these technologies in hopes of inspiring myself to become more innovative in my classroom.
So, this week in EdTech 501, I was asked to find and research a tech trend that I have always wanted to explore. As previously mentioned, St. Joseph’s Academy has recently acquired two 3D printers that I have, until recently, had no idea how to use, I decided to research the benefits of 3D printing and the solutions it offers in a technology based school.
In itself, a 3D printer can help solve the following tech challenges:
1. Rethinking the Roles of Teachers (Fast Trend: Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next one to two years)–Many teachers at St. Joseph’s Academy are older and obstinate in their ways of teaching. They give the same tests year after year and fail to supplement their lessons with engaging projects. If teachers, like myself, would take the time to seek help in learning how a 3D printer can effectively support and enrich instruction, perhaps they will be able to dismiss their seemingly unflinching “fear of the new.”
Solution: create professional development sessions geared towards the use of the 3D printer (and other technologies). Challenge all students to complete at least one 3D printing project by the end of the school year to eradicate the misleading idea that “it’s just too hard and time consuming!”
2. Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches (Fast Trend: Driving educational technology adoption in schools over the next one to two years)–This year, my goal is to create a “STEAM” classroom where students are challenged with texts and activities that are also rooted in other subject areas. Using the 3D printers to complete an English project would satisfy the use of technology as well as the use of the engineering process in a language based class.
Solution: the 3D printer is an excellent suggestion for incorporating STEAM into my lessons. Teachers can design lessons rooted in all subject areas that culminate in a final 3D printing “product” that they create using the engineering design process.
3. Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs (Mid-Range Trend: Driving educational technology adoption in schools within three to five years–Instead of reading entire, complex texts inside the classroom on a daily basis and then following up with a worksheet, students should be working on complex projects that require higher order thinking skills. 3D printers can be used for a multitude of project-based learning activities–timelines, character trees, maps of literary villages, etc. If teachers at St. Joseph’s Academy were trained in how to use the 3D printers, perhaps they would be more willing to try them out in their classrooms.
Solution: Similar to the way in which the 3D printer is a valid solution for my 2nd challenge above, the 3D printer also encourages students to use higher order thinking skills (which is a foundation of STEAM) to navigate their way through a project with teachers serving as mentors and facilitators rather than “models to emulate.”
Click the following link to view my Google Slides presentation on using 3D printers as a solution to the tech challenges I mentioned above: 3D Printing: An Engaging Tech. Solution to a Tech. Challenge
In closing, this assignment has made me realize just how little I do to learn about the many pieces of technology at St. Joseph’s Academy. I need to be proactive and ask for assistance so that I am confident enough to show my students. The 3D printer is an excellent way to satisfy elements of STEAM and maintain an engaging, student centered classroom.