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DREAM Lab Teachers Build New 3D Printers
Posted 12/18/2017 09:29AM

Baldwin's Computer Science and Engineering Department hosted a two-day professional development session with Ladi Goc from iMade3d building, developers of JellyBox 3D printers. Faculty members Stephanie Greer, Computer Science Department Chair and Lower School DREAM Lab® Coordinator, Addison Lilholt, Middle School DREAM Lab® Coordinator, Katie Burke, Computer Science Teaching Fellow, Harvey Campbell, Upper School Math Teacher, Kristen Brown, Middle School Art Teacher, and Mira Ramchandani, Jewelry Teacher, attended the workshops.

On the first day, they worked in teams of two to complete a JellyBox Maker Build, each building their own 3D printer. On day two, they spent time learning advanced 3D print techniques and concepts, reviewing printer maintenance skills and exploring filament potential.

The idea behind this professional development training began when the computer science department decided to replace the 3D printers in Baldwin's DREAM Labs® this year. They decided to identify printers that would be user friendly and functional for students and teachers. During the search, Ms. Greer came across the JellyBox printer and became interested in them because they were designed specifically with education in mind.

One of the unique features of the JellyBox is that students can actually build the 3D printers in collaboration with a teacher facilitator. "I was excited by the idea of introducing students to the hardware component of 3D printing," explained Ms. Greer. "Hardware structure and design is often overlooked in schools despite it being critical for understanding the tools we use."

During a weekend in September, Ms. Greer, Mr. Lilholt and Ms. Burke attended MakerFaire in Queens, NY, and visited the JellyBox booth and met with Ladi Goc. "We were impressed by his passion and enthusiasm for professional development and education," said Ms. Greer. When the group returned to Baldwin to discuss their options, they decided as a team to designate a chunk of this year's department budget to upgrading Baldwin's 3D printers to JellyBox and they sought support to bring Ladi to campus for training.

"However, we had a special request for Ladi," explained Ms. Greer. "We didn't want to do the Easy Build kit he usually teaches in his professional development workshops. We wanted to do the Maker Build — we wanted to do it all and build the whole thing, hot end included." Although hesitant at first, Ladi eventually agreed to accommodate the request, but only on the condition that the teachers would be willing to stay long and put in the work required. They enthusiastically agreed.

Because the sessions accommodate a total of six trainees, the computer science department invited three additional faculty members to join them. "It was an amazing experience and we all left feeling excited and empowered to bring JellyBox printers to Baldwin," said Ms. Greer.

According to Ms. Ramchandani, "The ability to take the time to work with my co-workers and build a 3D printer is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had so much fun learning and exploring the possibilities of these printers."

"I told my students that our two-day professional development was like school for teachers," explained Mr. Lilholt. "It was really a fantastic growth experience specifically in our field. It can sometimes be rare to have professional development that truly develops your skills in your profession for the entirety of the session. This was really useful from the start until the finish. The best part about it is that we will be able to take all of the skills we just learned and reteach them to our students. The focus on the educational aspects of 3D printing and these printers only added to the benefits of the whole two days. I hope that I can impart my new confidence in 3D printing from this session to all of my students."

In the coming weeks, the team will schedule the first student build, so stay tuned for more great news coming from Baldwin's DREAM Labs.

For photos from the two-day workshop, click here.

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