Lots of awesome things are happening in the world of making and STEAM education -- from new uses for 3-D printers to new conferences for STEAM teachers. Here are some of the most recent and exciting.
In May 2017, the first-ever national academic 3-D printing conference -- Construct3D 2017 -- will be held at Duke University. The goal of the conference is to open dialogue about how 3-D printing is used in education and to deepen the value of the practice for everyone who attends. Attendees can expect presentations, keynote talks, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
In late January, MakerBot unveiled its new community of educators, called the MakerBot Educators Program. Membership is open to educators who use 3-D printing in the classroom and who have also contributed two project ideas to Thingiverse Education (a collection of 3-D printing lesson plans). Upon joining, members of the community receive a welcome kit from MakerBot, as well as the opportunity to enter monthly contests.
If you've ever wondered about the impact the Maker Movement is having on the world, check out this article in the National Law Review about how the manufacturing sector in Maryland has been affected by makers. The article discusses how the maker movement has led to innovations in manufacturing, as well as more jobs, better education and sharpened skills. The piece helps make clear why the maker movement isn't simply a STEAM education trend; it's a movement that is having a tangible impact on the world at large.
Apple announced that it was releasing a bundle of video education products for students and teachers. The bundle will include Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4 and Mainstage 3 -- all for the deeply discounted price of $200. The tools are intended to help students learn to create videos at a professional level. The bundle saves consumers more than $400 -- a generous discount from the tech company.
Teaching sex education to students who are visually impaired has always been challenging because the traditional way to teach sex education lessons is via visual media such as movies, charts and pictures. However, 3-D printed models may change that; teachers may now be able to print anatomically correct models of things like genitalia at a price that they can afford. These 3-D printed models will augment the sex education students currently experience, which has typically, and not very effectively, been based on narration.
This piece by Malcolm Kushner in the Huffington Post is an interesting take on whether STEM education is headed in the right direction, or whether it should be revised. His takeaway? Replace "science" as the "S" in STEM with "speech." Kushner explains that pairing the math, engineering and tech skills with effective communication skills will produce students who become even better leaders in the future.
Do you want to get your students more involved in STEAM education and the maker movement? Check out Tinkercad, a simple, online 3-D design and printing app that anyone can use. If you're interested in getting your students started with making, check out this 3-D design gallery of things other makers have designed using the project.