I’m so excited! This week we received our first two 3D printers. We went with two different models:
1. MakerBot Replicator
2. PrintrBot Maker Simple (Kit)
I’m excited about both models. The MakerBot was so simple to use that we were able to make our first print within 45 minutes of opening the box. Although printing was fun, the PrintrBot kit has been far more rewarding. When it came in I told our interest group, and within the first few hours I had a crowd of students at my desk. They had me print out the assembly instructions, then started searching around campus for the tools they were going to need. Later that day they started assembling the machine in shifts. It is an ongoing process, but I feel like it is far more meaningful than our experience with the MakerBot so far. Although the prints will eventually be smaller, and the machine is only made from laser-cut wood, it is giving them the ability to understand how the machine actually works. They are working in a team and building the printer by following a complex set of instructions. These are skills that they will need in the future, and they are developing them by pursuing their own interests.
It seems like our printers are going to be in high demand. In our next EdTech Committee meeting we’ll need to discuss:
- How we will monitor and support the use of the printers
- Our overall capacity for printing – how many printers do we need?
- The cost – monthly/yearly
- The environmental impact of all the printing
- How this will impact course offerings