“Students get an idea, sketch it out, develop it in Rhino, animate it, print it, and then old it in their hands. Until then it’s all conceptual, virtual and 2D. completing the circle is important ― it turns kids on”
-Bruce Weirich Computer, Drafting Instructor, Ontario High School , Mansfield, Ohio, USA
3D Printing brings design full circle for Ohio high school students!
Little is more important for college-bound high school seniors than getting into the university of their choice. Technically minded students attending Ontario High School in Mansfield, Ohio, USA, have a distinct advantage in this quest.
Like most public schools, Ontario High strives to give students access to the highest technologies, but funding is always a challenge. Many schools in this position just make do with what they have. They rely on teachers to tell students about emerging technologies that are changing business and industry rather than let them experience it.
This just isn’t good enough for Ontario High computer drafting students. For a proper education, the school believes it’s essential to recreate an educational environment that faithfully simulates the real-world workplace, where designs undergo numerous iterations, become prototypes, and are further refined before ultimately becoming products you can hold in your hand. After overcoming some financial obstacles, that’s exactly what the school has created, giving students priceless experience for the workforce and higher education.
Access to High Tech Equipment Essential to Design Training
Ontario High is no different than other cash strapped school districts – except for the fact that computer drafting instructor Bruce Weirich and the business community found a creative way to overcome the financing obstacle for advanced technology.
In 2006, Weirich, a former high school football coach, attended a workshop in Columbus, OH, and discovered his former starting quarterback rapt by a “3D printer” in action. After a hearty reunion, Weirich immediately recognized 3D printing’s power to close that long-incomplete design-to-production circle, calling 3D CAD software and 3D printing a “match made in heaven.”
A 3D printer is an output device for 3D CAD data in the same way that a 2D printer is an output device for the words and pictures on your computer screen. The primary difference is that a 3D printer outputs three-dimensional models and prototypes in composite material. 3D printing is gaining ground as equipment follows the pattern of 2D printers: capabilities are increasing as prices fall.
Lacking a stockpile of cash for new technology, Weirich creatively sewed some budget money together with financing help from Jay Plastics, a nearby auto industry parts supplier. In return for the financial support, Weirich’s students print out prototypes for Jay Plastics in support of its headlight parts contract for the Ford F150. In addition to bringing state-of-the-art prototyping technology to Weirich’s students, 3D printing has given them invaluable experience dealing with business and industry.
Dynamic Learning Across Multiple Departments
Ontario High students can now take the 3D designs they’ve developed in their Rhino™ CAD software and hold the 3D physical prototypes in their hands a couple of short hours later. Both the students and Jay Plastics are maximizing the unique color potential of Spectrum Z™510 color 3D printer from Z Corporation, still the only company to produce multicolor 3D printers. Jay’s engineers are using ZEdit™ software to mark up physical models with color and notes – for instance, to flag a part for structural analysis or show where the fastener attaches.
Access to 3D printing is giving Ontario students experience in the entire product design cycle, from concept to production, without leaving the classroom. “Students get an idea, sketch it out, develop it in Rhino, animate it, print it, and then hold it in their hands,” says Weirich. “When they hold it in their hands, they’re closing the loop, which really brings the value of the exercise home. Until then, it’s all conceptual, virtual and 2D. Completing the circle is important. It turns kids on.”
The 3D printer in Weirich’s classroom is pumping out models “twenty-four seven” he says. Students print mechanical designs, architectural models and art objects, including ducks, masks, cars, Big Ben, Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial and a sleek spaceship straight out of Star Wars. All of these are in bold color, which closes the loop on another level: students don’t have to imagine their monochrome parts as colored, or repaint them offline. They come straight out of the printer in high-fidelity 24-bit colors.
No 3D printer is faster than the Spectrum Z510, a critical capability for schools, especially when it’s time to print class projects en masse. A class of 25
students can print models, all unique, in a single build. The two-hour turnaround would make many manufacturing companies envious.
Weirich’s design students are just one user group. Ontario High School’s art department is using the printer to produce computer-designed sculptures, and industrial arts classes are using the printer to prototype furniture in miniature. Middle school students are just beginning to learn design with Rhino software, and the 3D printer will close the loop for those students as well, says Weirich.
Students’ 3D printing work has gained widespread notice. Once the plans for the Ontario district’s bus garage renovations and additions were approved, Weirich’s classes took the design, made an architectural color 3D model of the site plans, added color 3D models of buses, parked them in garage bays, and transported these models to public meetings. This enabled the public to better visualize and understand the plan. “Our models are answering questions that a lot of people in the community may have, and they are easer to see compared to trying to read a blueprint,” says Weirich.
The 3D printer is part of a well-equipped, comprehensive technology curriculum that Weirich says gives his students a leg up when they apply for admission and scholarships, and when they begin their college classes.
“Ontario High School design students are well-versed in areas of study that colleges and universities are just beginning to explore,” Weirich says. “Students are going to college and finding it very very easy to develop their skills at that level because of the advanced foundation they received here. Likewise, I think colleges and universities who visit us are learning a little about the possibilities of college prep in public education,” Weirich says. “And when students show up at interviews with colorful models to pass around the table, that makes a big impact on whether they’re admitted or hired.”
Weirich expects 3D printing to expand throughout the district, and he’s looking forward to expanding students’ technology horizons with 3D scanning. Then students could learn to scan objects, capture the design on their PCs, develop them in Rhino and print the reverse-engineered models. Says Weirich, “That would be yet another way to close the loop and provide the educational advantages our students – and all students – deserve.”
Ontario High School
New Lockstep Engineering Program Promotes Collaborative Learning at Kenston Middle School,
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
According to class teacher Larry Klimkowski, the new Lockstep Engineering Program at Kenston Middle School is helping students become confident collaborative learners, using the latest teaching and learning technologies.
We asked him to tell us more about this innovative program that combines both hands-on activities using real hardware, with computer-based simulators that allow students to perform the same experiments in a virtual environment.
Innovative, flexible lab “This is a very different program to our previous technology education program, where we had ten different modules in the lab with students all doing different activities at the same time. Back then in 2005 I felt more like a facilitator than a teacher. Today it is very different, I am back at the centre of the instruction and I am teaching again. All my students are following the same lessons and learning activities and I have time to work more directly with them.
I like the flexibility the lab has to offer the many different types of learners who participate in the class. I approach this class with the philosophy of exposing students to the skills and ideas associated with the various engineering modules I teach. I also look to enhance and develop their ability to collaborate with one another, identify problems, carry out tasks, and implement solutions.
By exposing students to the ideas of how technology is used in the real world and providing them with opportunities to discover solutions, we can develop both their self-learning skills and their co-operative learning skills.”
ENGINEERING PROGRAM - SUCCESS STORY
“I love this class it’s so much fun using the presentations and making things work!”
Sierra, Student at Kenston Middle
Exciting presentations with instant response keypads!
According to Larry Klimkowski this obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment is based on the structure of the lessons and the LJ Create resources he has.
“I begin each lesson with the ClassAct SRS presentations. I begin the grading period by completing the first couple as a whole class, conducting a pop corn reading type activity. As the classes become familiar with controls and the format, I then use the SRS’s presentations as 10 point graded assignments. Students complete each assessment at their own computer with their SRS controller, we then move on to the lesson activities and work in collaborative groups. I usually allow the students to complete the trainer activities in groups of four and the simulator activities in groups of two. Assessments are then completed individually or in groups of two.”
Simulators that actively engage students!
“I try to promote as much collaboration as possible. Each student must contribute. No free rides! The students are actively engaged in the hands-on and simulator activities. Working in cooperative groups and using technology-based teaching methods with the simulation-based activities really makes a difference.
Thanks to the support I have had from Buckeye Educational and LJ Create, I now have a fantastic engineering program that enthuses my students and lets me teach the subject in a collaborative way that engages students of all abilities and interests.”
Kenston Middle School
Jennifer Payne, a Medical Careers instructor at the Center, has been using the HealthCenter21 programs for two years now:
• The Health Care Foundations program is consistently used with the junior class.
• The Multi‐Skilled Nursing Assistant curriculum is used with juniors as part of Ohio’s program for nurse aides. Mrs. Payne uses the MSNA course to reinforce the difficult aspects of the program and to enhance skill development. HealthCenter21 curriculum is available for:
• Health Care Foundations
• Multi‐Skilled Nursing Assistant
• Medical Office Assistant
• Emergency Medical Services
• The Medical Office Assistant course is used mainly with the seniors.
Mrs. Payne points out that her students like the ability to work at their own pace and in turn, she appreciates the flexibility that this style of learning affords her. Students can listen to the narration and, when necessary, go back to previous pages, in order to ensure that they have the required knowledge, prior to taking the quizzes. The “call teacher” feature also allows for easy communication between student and instructor. With regard to absences, Mrs. Payne talks about the fact that she had a senior student on medical leave, who missed a large portion of what was happening in the classroom. The HealthCenter21 curriculum enabled this student to catch up much quicker than previously since the unit was assigned as a self‐instruction unit upon the student’s return to class.
The HealthCenter21 curriculum allows for multiple teachers—all displaying an array of different teaching styles—to be able to manage their system in the way that best suits their needs. Mrs. Payne points out that the way she manages the curriculum is entirely different than the way her peer manages it across the hallway. The end effect, however, is that students are engaged, and more importantly, they are learning. When asked about the National Healthcare Foundation Skills Assessment, Mrs. Payne explains that some of the key components in the assessment were not emphasized in their core curriculum. The HealthCenter21 modules have provided the necessary link to incorporating this knowledge into the courses, and Mrs. Payne is anticipating that her students will be successful at the end of the year. With regard to the webTRAC management system, provided with her HealthCenter21 programs, Mrs. Payne adds that this system allows her to track students’ progress easily and quickly. “I can get a real‐time assessment of how far they are in the unit, and how well they are actually learning the information. I can also see when a student is struggling, and assist them with the content.” Mrs. Payne uses the messaging capability, within the management system, to communicate with the class, or individual students, and she schedules a pop‐up message to inform her students that class is soon over, and that it is clean‐up time. “My experience with AES and their representative, Buckeye Educational Systems, has been great! The training, provided by Buckeye, gave us the tools we needed in order to manage the classroom, and I have never had to use the remote assistance capability that AES offers to their instructors.”
Pickaway Ross Career & Technology Center