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Vimeo Film: "Merger"

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Every now and again I search for inspiring films on Vimeo. If you go to Vimeo’s Staff Picks you often get a wonderful array of short films and experimental videos from upcoming talent. I especially like the films that tackle science and technology in new and unique ways. Yesterday I stumbled upon “Merger”, a VR film by Keiichi Matsuda.

“Merger is a new film about the future of work... Set against the backdrop of AI-run corporations, a tele-operator finds herself caught between virtual and physical reality, human and machine. As she fights for her economic survival, she finds herself immersed in the cult of productivity, in search of the ultimate interface. This short film documents her last 4 minutes on earth.”

So when it comes to the education of technology and the technology of education we as educators want to prepare our students for the future of work but what happens when you can see the bottom of the rabbit hole? Sarah Winter’s performance shows a striking contrast of humanity in all her beauty and struggles trying to live within this new world of Artificial Intelligence. You feel overwhelmed for her and Matsuda does an excellent job trying to visualize this with VR film making.

This film hits me on so many levels but here are 4 questions I think about after watching this film:

  1. Should we think about AI on a deeper level?

  2. Is it better to teach our kids to be more humane than technologically literal?

  3. Can our spirit be uploaded to a network?

  4. Do you want your children to be pushed by a corporate entity to lose her humanity in exchange for economic survival?

If you want to understand Artificial Intelligence and its impact on a deeper level check out this link and watch the film below after you read it. It’ll haunt you.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html

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Curious Insight: Early Access to Technology

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I often come back to a thought about the impact that technology has on kids. If I were to ask you when was the first time you discovered a computer you would probably remember macbooks or PC computers flooding your local library. If you were born when computers already existed then you’d probably remember when you first heard about a drone or 3D Printer.

My curiosity today is this…Have you were ever been fascinated by a computer, drone or 3d printer? Did you ever take time to learn about them? Did you have access to the technology at an early age?

If you look back at some the “tech titans” like Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos who practically transformed society by the technologies they created it’s hard not listen to how it all started when they were exposed at such a young age.

Have a look below and hear from them tell the story.

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Netflix Documentary: “Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski”

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This new year I took some time to find some interesting artists documentaries on Netflix. This particular documentary did not fail. Struggle is the story about LA artists who discover a rare and ingenious sculptor from Poland.

What fascinated me about Szukalski was:

  1. His alphabet he designed as a child

  2. His punk rock attitude toward art

  3. How is father taught him anatomy

  4. His sculpture dedicated to Mexico and US relations

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Check out “Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski” on Netflix

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Happy New Year!

While blogging may not be my forte I do plan on showing up and jotting down notes on Creativity, Education and Making. If anyone reads it or not the most important thing is that I showed up to write.

I wish you and your family a blessed, happy and prosperous 2019!

Miguel

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Constructing Knowledge: Incase and Carbon Partnership

I would probably imagine you’ve never heard of InCase before unless you own one of their mobile phone accessories.  The reason why I’m bringing them up is because we have yet another example of a company adopting exponential technology within their practice.  In my previous post I spoke about adidas and the use of 3d printing to create a next generation sneaker called Futurecraft 4D.  Now we’re seeing the same disruption trend within consumer mobile accessories.

 

Let's Review

Exponential Tech + Programmable Material + Good Design = 10x Advantage

That’s the formula for a new collection of Incase mobile accessories.  The Innovation comes from a new manufacturing process called Digital Light Synthesis.  It stems from biologically inspired growth processes that originate from natural light and reactive resin materials found in the natural world. So what are the specifics to the innovations? 

Key innovative aspects of this partnership include:

  • Technology: A breakthrough printing process using both light and oxygen to generate high-quality production parts, Carbon’s robust M2 printer and proprietary Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) technology enables the creation of complex latticing structures, newly introduced to the mobile protection In contrast to the properties used in traditional injection molding, the intricate lattice structures generated with DLS are engineered to offer unparalleled performance with the generation of lightweight, durable elastomeric materials, which enables Incase to provide stronger elastomer protection solutions to customers.

  • Materials: Partnering with Carbon, Incase will utilize the widest range of programmable properties in additive manufacturing to create custom materials built for durability and impact-absorption – materials not found in mobile device protection today. This allows Incase and Carbon design teams to take an entirely different approach to innovating protection by designing unique, complex structures built from the ground-up using UV-curable polyurethane resin. With these materials, elaborate structures can be configured and intentionally engineered to create a semi-rigid structure and material composition to achieve unprecedented impact and drop protection.

  • Design: Carbon’s algorithmic design and simulation software inform and drive Incase’s end-to-end design process in delivering greater device protection. Using Carbon’s intelligent software, designers can engineer high-performance lattices in calculated shapes optimized to absorb the maximum amount of impact in the lightest frame achievable. These capabilities also offer the ability to design, test, and adjust structures rapidly – with far more iterations than current development allows – to deliver deliberately protective solutions for devices.

“We are unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing, enabling designers and engineers to create previously impossible products and open up entirely new business models,” said Phil DeSimone, Vice President of Business Development and Co-founder, Carbon.

As you can see from the video it’s quite clear that the concept of less material and stronger performance is biological in origin.  If you’re a fan of biomimicry much of these design methods stem from that concept of ecosystems.  Not to mention that the CEO is a biologist from Academia. Clearly bio-inspired objects have a unique look and aesthetic that screams cutting edge but the fact that product innovation is now stepping into a new era is evident.  I think it’s a smart move for Incase and gives all of us a glimpse at the new age of manufacturing for the 21st century. Now where can I buy one? 

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The Exponential Curve: Is 3D Printing Dead?

The Exponential Curve: Is 3D Printing Dead?

Well that was a loaded question.  I remember when a teacher colleague of mine expressed those very words to me.  We were discussing plans on how to engage our students for the upcoming school year and when I brought up the topic of 3d printing I immediately heard those shocking words.  

Was he right? Did I just spend three years working on a process that was suddenly outdated and out-of-fashion?  Did I fail my students by not being on trend with the latest tools and technology for my classroom?  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a few weeks.  It got to a point to where I made the decision to investigate that topic for myself and see what exactly was going in the 3D Print world. 

First let me give you the answer to today's question….No, 3D Printing in the classroom is not "dead", it’s going through something called  “the trough of disillusionment.”  

 

Let Me Explain

As a fan of technology you always hear about the latest and greatest tools of the trade.  Last year all the hype was around Artificial Intelligence and Cryptocurrency.  But about 4 years ago everyone was talking about 3d printing and how it would revolutionize manufacturing.  It was a pretty exciting time and even more exciting when I first received an industrial 3d printer for my classroom as a charitable donation.  I was excited and scared about the possibilities.  What on earth was I going to make? How do you teach students to use such a thing and what software could I use?

I didn’t let any of those uncertainties dissuade me because I knew that exponential technology follows a particular acceptance curve called the Gartner Hype Cycle.   

The Gartner hype cycle is a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technology.  It was created by the Gartner research company and they’ve successfully predicted how a group of people typically adopt technology and more importantly how it is applied in businesses and organizations.  

 

As you can see in the graphic there are 5 stages of acceptance : Innovation Trigger, Peak Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment and Plateau of Productivity.  Remember the title of this post?  That question is common when you’re in the Trough of Disillusionment.  And wouldn’t you know there have been some talk about 3d printing in enterprises this past year and even the creation of 3D Printing innovations within the sneaker industry.  Ever heard of a little company called Adidas? Yeah last year they launched a 3d printed shoe called Futurecraft 4D.

 

The Takeaway

So If we were to take anything away from this chart the fact of the matter is that we’re really entering a period of innovation and enlightenment.  All the doubters are about to come to the conclusion that what they’ve been saying about 3d printing being "dead" was wrong.

 

But What About Education?

Good question.  The innovation is happening but it seems like it’s slightly behind the news of big companies. The problem is that companies that are innovating are making their case studies more specific and focused to customer segments within their industry.  We need to do the same with education and design systems and processes more targeted to teachers and their learning outcomes.  Are students making toys or tools?  Are they thinking about how things are made and what they can do to make it better and beautiful?  Do students have a sense agency and do they believe they can change something for the better?  

Better yet do you believe you can make a change in the world?  I certainly believe it and though I don’t have all the answers I do have the drive and experience to make something that can help my students and fellow teachers get to a better place.  I’d love to share it with you when we launch our site this year.   Happy New Year!

3D Printers in the Classroom – design, creativity and tech skills for today’s students

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3D Printers in the Classroom – design, creativity and tech skills for today’s students

As consumer 3D printers drop in price, they are making their way into classrooms around the country and changing the way students learn. Industry watchers say there are hundreds of thousands of the 3D printers already in classrooms — one school district in Southern California has gone so far as to put a 3D printer in every single school, teaching kids as young as second grade how to use the devices and Computer Aided Design software to make printable items.

Educators teaching the technology say the devices foster creativity, teamwork and flexibility, all skills that students need to be competitive in today’s work force. One expert suggests that 3D printers will soon be as prevalent in the classroom as overhead projectors. Are 3D printers really the classroom tool of the future? Do students need to be exposed to 3D printing technology to be competitive for jobs? We’ll explore these questions and more with KPCC’s Arts Education Reporter Mary Plummer and her guests at our Crawford Family Forum. Be here for this discussion, and see students and printers at work, too.

Are 3D printers really the classroom tool of the future? Do students need to be exposed to 3D printing technology to be competitive for jobs?

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Parsons Engineering supports 3D Print High School Program

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Parsons Engineering supports 3D Print High School Program

One of the world's largest engineering and construction organizations specializing in infrastructure, transportation, planning, environmental, and industrial complexes paid a visit to our classroom.  

CEO Charles Harrington has committed to becoming a sustaining sponsor of the 3D Print Program for the Pasadena Unified School District.  Some of the things Harrington mentioned that surprised him was the level of quality teaching and that innovation is no longer a luxury but a vital key for a corporations survival. I couldn't agree more with him.  

Click Here to Read Article

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Teacher of the Year and 2015 California Blue Ribbon Awards

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Teacher of the Year and 2015 California Blue Ribbon Awards

This year I received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Pasadena Humane Society for my work in the field of 3D Print Education.  In addition to this my school received the 2015 California Blue Ribbon Schools Award from the California Department of Education. 

It was a great honor to be the recipient of two great awards alongside my peers and was a wonderful way to celebrate the end of an excellent school year!  

 

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3D Printing the Museum of the Future

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3D Printing the Museum of the Future

This week the Dubai government announced plans to 3D Print an Oval Shaped Building using 3D Printing Construction techniques.  The cost for this project is estimated to be $136 million dollars.  

Yet another testimony to the rapid innovation of 3D Printing but this announcement is quite a project in comparison to China's 3D Printed homes and apartment buildings.  

It will be interesting to see how the UAE will provide further details on the construction techniques but they are certainly practicing their motto of “See the future, create the future."  

Click Here for More Details

 

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NASSP 2015 Recap

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NASSP 2015 Recap

  This week I was fortunate to participate with my esteemed teacher colleagues in presenting at the National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference in San Diego, California.  

   If you are not familiar NASSP is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world.   For middle level and high school principals and assistant principals who know the critical necessity of staying current, connected, and equipped for leadership, one national conference (Ignite '15)  was the clear “must-attend” choice.

  Without getting too deep into the data our school has over a 95% graduation, attendance and college success rate.   While much goes into the success of our program part of it involves career technical education and offering our students an outlet to explore and educate themselves on industries that are making an impact in their communities.   

   Part of my presentation discussed a correlation with academic performance and career skills based performance.   Now you can call " career skills based performance"   many things like culinary arts, performing arts or in my case Graphic Design.   Within the context of my course I teach Visual Communications with an emphasis on Design Thinking which is a notion of design as a way of thinking.   Now before you ask about 3D Printing let's investigate the connection between graphic and three dimensional design.   Three dimensional objects can be considered graphic but often times students are stuck in the two dimensional realm of thought.  Presentations, worksheets and applications are two dimensional and rarely journey into the third dimension so I often find that the most effective way to teach 3D Printing is by exploring every facet of two dimensional design and evolve the curriculum into three dimensional packaging design (i.e. food packaging design).  Once we achieve this scaffolded level of understanding in my classroom then I begin to explore 3D Printing and consumer product design with the same focus on design thinking to solve problems.  

   I would highly recommend this approach since core subject content allows for visual assets and physical products to be created as evidence of student understanding.  It ultimately draws down to "learning by doing" and what I communicated to many principals and administrators in the audience this week was that a new culture of learning is happening in my classroom that hasn't been given in any training but only talked about in the research articles.  Just this evening a stumbled upon this Harvard University Article stating technology can bring "a model of schooling that departs from its behaviorist past - creating a Ludic Education for a Ludic Age, promoting inquiry, collaboration, experimentation and play.  In this vision, teachers and students are partners in a joint venture.  They open up the teaching machine to peer into guts and gears - tinkering, failing, and trying again, to see what they can make of it together.  The machines can return education to what it's always been:  a project that's intrinsically human."  

   I can attest that this is exactly the level of education and engagement that is happening in my classroom and I'm beginning to see the connection from this context.  I'm excited to share these connections as I continue to dive deeper in this new culture.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schools Using 3D Printers

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Schools Using 3D Printers

   This week I received an email from another teacher in Santa Barbara, California that needed help crowd sourcing a list of K-12 schools that were operating a 3D Printer in the classroom.   While the information shows under a dozen schools at the time of this post it does not include the 26 schools in our district that operate 28 3D Printers. In addition I have worked with two other private schools in the surrounding area of Pasadena that have acquired 3D Printers and I've been happy to help them navigate with some of their implementation.  

   I'm certain that this number is no where near the true number of printers across America but it would be fascinating to know the actual number of schools utilizing 3D Printing technology.  My prediction will be that the number of 3D Printers in schools will increase with the introduction of low cost printers starting at $350 from start up companies aiming to fill the education space.  It will definitely be a year to watch the competition battle for the education sector.  

Please support the crowdsourcing effort and tell my fellow colleague if you're operating a 3D Printer in your classroom! 

Click here to add your school to the list! 

 

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One enterprising 3-D printer received a cease and desist letter from Katy Perry's Lawyers

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One enterprising 3-D printer received a cease and desist letter from Katy Perry's Lawyers

Fernando Sosa, who 3-D prints politically themed sculptures (a number of which are "not safe for work") and sells them online. This time he went decidedly apolitical, creating and printing a Left Shark figure, which he put up for sale for $24.99, shortly after the Katy Perry Super Bowl 49 Performance.

CNN got wind of the story and what fascinates me about the article is that manufacturers and product developers are unaware of the potential disruption 3D Printers will have in their  industries.  It's only a matter of time before 3D Printers become ubiquitous that retailers will realize the threat millenials pose when they realize products can be 3D Printed anywhere and no longer need to expense time, energy, shipping costs and sometimes travel to purchase a good.    

 

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Free Forum on March 22, 2015 regarding 3D Printers in the Classroom – design, creativity and tech skills for today’s students

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Free Forum on March 22, 2015 regarding 3D Printers in the Classroom – design, creativity and tech skills for today’s students

I'm excited to announce my first forum discussion with Southern California Radio Moderator Mary Plummer and David Cawley, Director, Rapidprototyping at Art Center College of Design. This is definitely an event worth watching online or visiting in person. 

Click Here to RSVP for Free!

As consumer 3D printers drop in price, they are making their way into classrooms around the country and changing the way students learn. Industry watchers say there are hundreds of thousands of the 3D printers already in classrooms — one school district in Southern California has gone so far as to put a 3D printer in every single school, teaching kids as young as second grade how to use the devices and Computer Aided Design software to make printable items.

Educators teaching the technology say the devices foster creativity, teamwork and flexibility, all skills that students need to be competitive in today’s work force. One expert suggests that 3D printers will soon be as prevalent in the classroom as overhead projectors. Are 3D printers really the classroom tool of the future? Do students need to be exposed to 3D printing technology to be competitive for jobs? We’ll explore these questions and more with KPCC’s Arts Education Reporter Mary Plummer and her guests at our Crawford Family Forum. Be here for this discussion, and see students and printers at work, too.

Moderator
Mary PlummerKPCC’s Arts Education Reporter

Guests
Miguel Almena: former Disney employee who leads the 3D technology training of the Pasadena Unified School District teachers; teaches in the Marshal Design Lab,  the Academy for Creative Industries at Marshal Fundamental High School, PUSD

David Cawley:  Director, Rapidprototyping & Model Shops, Art Center College of Design

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3D Printed Microphone Stand

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3D Printed Microphone Stand

   Early this month my class was interviewed for a Southern California Public Radio Broadcast that aired to 600,000 listeners.  As a thank you to the interviewer we designed and 3D Printed a Microphone stand to alleviate the pressure of holding a microphone during those long sit down interviews.  What I love about this design is the attention to the overall look and feel of the form.

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Ideas of how to build a program that can prepare students for transfer or employment in the Digital Graphic Arts field

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Ideas of how to build a program that can prepare students for transfer or employment in the Digital Graphic Arts field

   This month President Obama proposed community college be free for all Americans in preparation for the needs and demands of the 21st Century.  Prior to this Tom Hanks wrote a great article in the New York TImes about how he discovered acting while attending a FREE community college.  

My idea of building a program that can prepare students for employment in the Digital Graphics Arts field can best be described as a redefinition and recreation of a community.   Currently the primary motivation toward attending a community college has been for its financial advantage and the chance to prepare for the demands of a 4-year university if a student plans on transferring.  Scheduling is flexible and students have the opportunity to explore major options without incurring a high cost and many accomplished professors teach part-time while pursuing advanced degrees or career goals.   However, we often find that the cons to community colleges can be the problems that create the greatest challenges for an institution to thrive.   These challenges are limited curriculum, lighter workload, outdated technology (or lack thereof) and poor student involvement.   Community colleges have a unique opportunity to innovate and envision its communities by simply reimagining it for the 21st century. The current pace of technological advancements within the areas of manufacturing, health care, education and other related industries are growing exponentially but offer students in the digital graphic arts a unique opportunity to be leaders in this field by adopting emerging technologies and implementing them within their careers.  

            If one were to summarize the mission of this new program it would be stated as follows:  To redefine/recreate the community through human insight and new technology to design products and services for the 21st century.  Given that most community colleges in the Southern California area services students with opportunities that react to the current economic climate this program would be proactive in creating new opportunities as a result of current labor-market needs using the latest 21st century skills and tools.  To do this college officials would analyze job and wage predictions and conduct feasibility studies to weigh the value of the graphic arts program.  Courses would be switched or modified when the economy demands it.   For example if one were to observe at how current technologically driven experiences are changing people’s expectations and norms in society we find that more people are communicating and interacting digitally then compared to the entire history of the Internet.  Digital graphic artists can pursue degrees or certificates in user experience design, which is the study of enhancing customer satisfaction by improving the ease of use in the digital interaction between the customer and the product.  According to CNN Money within the last ten years user experience design jobs grew by 22 percent with an average pay reaching $95,000 per year.   Digital graphic art students have the opportunity to benefit from this opportunity if they are matched with careers that are available in the near community or create demand by offering local businesses digital solutions toward improving their revenue. The impact of the program would revitalize local economy and give digital graphic arts students a competitive advantage.

            The program would also take into consideration new pedagogic principles in regard to digital design thinking.  New computational processes in software are creating opportunities for artists to envision new forms and structures that surpass traditional 20thcentury archetypes.   These recent advancements in computational tools are creating higher levels of complexity in digital renders, which thereby provide new opportunities to explore a digital design process that encourages research-oriented study.  To open students to this pedagogy projects would be treated from a bottom-up process – one can explore processes that can organize a set of ideas and rules that can than modify the process by selecting alternative methods and techniques of exploration.  The didactic process to digital design thinking would consist of the following four basic steps:

 

-       Conceptualize and define a specific type of ‘digital format or material’. Digital format or material can be defined as an organizational structure, or pattern, of a certain image or material.

-       Define a specific digital design model related to image, form, generation, performance, or relationship of such models.

-       Select a context that can best demonstrate the behavior and applicability of the ‘design format or material’ in relation to principles related to formation, generation or performance.

-       Develop and present a taxonomy (related to graphic design) that can be used to describe the digital graphic art design thinking processes. 

 

When these projects allow the student to explore the intersections between methodologies, techniques, representational models, etc. the integration between digital media art and the conceptual results engage the imagination and encourage higher levels of cognitive function. 

            As a result of this program a rich array of resources will be available–and high expectations–for traditionally underserved students.  Countless students who may say they were given up elsewhere will be inspired, tutored and pushed to succeed by faculty staff and student ambassadors. Partnerships with local high schools will be enhanced in order to create motivation before students arrive on campus.  One example of a high school partnership would be collaborating in creating a TedxYouth event where college and high school students gather for a day of inspiring talks and conversation.  The event would strive to empower and inspire young people under a unique theme that encompasses the spirit of the speaker talks within a community.  The program would also be saturated with academic support within the courses.  Project based learning that encourages a tremendous effort of writing and critical thinking will align with the academic standards of four-year schools.  In addition if students can’t graduate school due to endless remedial classes, small learning communities would be activated to accelerate student goals to completion, thereby raising the level of expectation and performance.   New faculty hires are chosen to lead by innovation and are tasked with solving problems in creative ways while given the resources to do so.  

             While the challenges of accomplishing such tasks within a program are by no means small the consequences of not doing anything would be far detrimental to the student, to the community and to society.  The world we know today has changed and will continue to change far more rapidly then anyone could imagine.  Many of humanity’s greatest creative achievements will occur within the next 30 years as a result of this acceleration. Community College has the proper infrastructure to be a leader in forging this new future for its citizens and show other colleges that an educational institution can indeed redefine and recreate a community for tomorrow.

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Pasadena teachers — and eventually students — to become masters of 3D printing

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Pasadena teachers — and eventually students — to become masters of 3D printing

For the first time, teachers from across Pasadena Unified School District trained in the use of 3D printers because every school in the district will soon be equipped with the technology.

 

"Almost a year later, teachers chosen for their interest in technology were packed into graphic design teacher Miguel Almena’s classroom at Marshall Fundamental High School where they learned how to operate the machines. 

'When they asked me if I wanted to participate in the printer program, I instantly said yes,' Almena said. 

A former employee with Disney, Almena had previous experience with 3D printers. For Almena, the real potential in 3D is in showing students how problem-solving skills can be applied to the real world.

Almena described a lesson plan that involved showing the kids how to design and advertise a product. The lesson also include the creation of a product in a design program and printing a 3D model."

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/social-affairs/20140815/pasadena-teachers-x2014-and-eventually-students-x2014-to-become-masters-of-3d-printing

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