Montclair, a region that isn’t so small
Montclair’s public school district, made up of 11 individual Kindergarden to grade 12 schools support 6,625 students. Trying to modernize curriculum and introduce STEM learning initiatives can be difficult for a single school, but even more challenging to an entire district.
3D printers are tools for educators which can be revolutionary, and a single printer can have a large impact on a small scale library or classroom. A couple of Montclair’s schools have discovered individual initiatives in the past, such as constructing a single makerspace, however the district was interested in a more connected, soup-to-nuts solutions which would facilitate STEM learning throughout the entire system.
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Back in 2015, MakerBot and Montclair worked together to establish the very first district-wide network of desktop 3D printers, in each school, from elementary all the way to Montclair State University. Both educators and administrators realize this is not easy feat. Implementing a lot of specialized technology at once calls for a lot of support, training and accompanying curriculum in order to keep printers from collecting dust in a classroom. It’s this very need which led MakerBot to build the industry’s very first fully supported solutions for education. They offered educators simple and reliable printing and curriculum, and offered administrators solutions for purchasing, deployment, and comprehensive tech support.
“We want kids to be regular producers. We want them to be ingenious. We want them to be creative. We want them to be problem solvers.”
With 3D printers in over 7,000 schools across the US, administrators and educators rely on MakerBot, the industry’s most complete 3D printing solution offered for education. Now fast forwarding to today, MakerBot caught up with Montclair to discover more about how the impact their 3D printers are having district wide.
“We brought in MakerBot to provide consistency and continuity for the program,” began – Dr. Joseph Putrino, Glenfield Middle School’s principal. He continued to say that “reliability was obviously a big factor, we didn’t want to bring something in that would fail – but we knew we’d be successful with MakerBot.”
Dr. Putrino raises the most important points that are often not taken as seriously as they should be before schools leap into 3D printing. Can a 2nd grader and a 10th grader use the same tools for different learning outcomes? How much maintenance is required with a printer? Are the 3D printers simple to set up?
More often than not, this issue is passed like a hot potato from the tech company to the school, leaving educators an immense amount of work to train themselves, author curriculum, and become experts in maintaining the tools. However, this is not the case with MakerBot, and most certainly not the case at Buzz Aldrin Middle School in Montclair, where STEM coordinator, Daniel Taylor, proudly supports the district’s printers and users across all eleven schools.
“We’re committed to making 3D printing a district wide initiative and are doing printing in grades 2 through 12 at all eleven schools,” explained Taylor. To meet Montclair’s wide need for 3D printing lesson plans, Taylor adds that – “We use MakerBot Thingiverse Education, with lessons that’ve been developed by educators – that’s a great resource.” MakerBot’s Thingiverse Educational portal is the internet’s biggest collection of teacher tested 3D printing lesson plans. It also holds the title for the biggest community of 3D printing educators. Combined with the newly published MakerBot Educators Guidebook, and regular training webinars, Montclair’s educators have more than enough resources required to hit the ground running in any subject or grade level.
Montclair’s students have a distinctive opportunity to experience 3D printing and 3D design from elementary school, right through high school. This new paradigm in STEM learning that wouldn’t have been possible without the wide range of benefits that MakerBot content, community, support and administrative solutions provide.
“This is what we mean when we talk about 21st century careers,” adds Dr. Putrino. “Our students are graduating with real ideas of how they can use 3D printing moving forward.”
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