As technology changes our world, so should it change our classrooms. This fall, Randolph has some new toys – 3D printers. With hands-on application, these 3D printers will offer useful learning experiences for our students.
“I'm excited to see so many wonderful ideas being generated by our arts faculty," says Arts Director, Adam Bernick. "Both Mr. Townsend and Mr. Read have worked closely with the School's technology department and administration to bring 3D printers to campus for our students. As modern pedagogy begins to focus more on ‘making thinking visible’ and ‘design thinking,’ we need to continue to support this pedagogy with useful tools to expand the learning opportunities in our classrooms.”
Our visual arts program offers so much for the Randolph student. It is both a curriculum that covers a classical approach to art making - strong in fundamentals and technique development - with a growing set of opportunities in the modern methods to art making - from graphic design courses to 3D printing projects. It is worth noting that our visual arts program is innovating at every level, K-12, and in all aspects of the discipline.
Mr. Townsend sees the addition of 3D printers as, not only introducing new technology, but opening up new possibilities. He says the 3D printer "hasn’t changed my teaching, but what it opens up for students is much more important. Instead of telling students, ‘that would be a really cool idea, but we can’t do it’, I can now say, ‘let’s figure it out!’ It removes barriers and allows us to be limited by less.”
Mr. Read heard about using 3D printers in the classroom through a colleague at another school. He was intrigued by the projects that teacher was able to create with his students and began to dream about what Randolph students could do with this new technology. He already has several projects planned for his MS students. Fifth graders will be producing creative name plates. Seventh and 8th graders will be designing robots.
“Project design in 3D printing is intended to be open-ended,” says Read. “This allows students to build skills in design [software] while exploring this new medium.” These projects offer students a new perception about what is possible, now that these tools are available in the classroom. They will strengthen students’ critical thinking skills with projects that fit well into any art curriculum.
Contributing authors: Peter Townsend, Michael Read, Robin Barr, and Adam Bernick