3D Printers Help Lead Long Island Schools Into The Future

Donated 3D printers in the Greenport High School printing lab. Photo by Michael Davies

By Katarina Delgado and Nicholas Kalantzopoulos

Greenport High School brought in their seventh 3D printer on Wednesday, bolstering their technology department, as many schools across the country apply for grants to do the same.

The school has received printers from donors that range from private donors on online forums to web application companies. One company, Frustum, combines technical and engineering talent to create applications for aviation, architecture and design. Frustum had received an FDM (Fuel Deposition Modeling) 3D printer, which was not compatible to their needs. Greenport High School had a use for it, and accepted it as a donation.

Michael Davies, the head of the technology program at the school, has been in charge of these purchases. Davies says his partnerships are not with “huge corporations,” but with everyday people.

With schools like Greenport High in mind, 3D printing company New Matter created the MOD-t printer that is silent and simple to fit the educational environment. The company has begun an education initiative. A part of this effort is the Educate and Inspire grant that will donate over $200,000 in 3D printers and supplies to schools across America.

“The benefit for New Matter is to evangelize and promote 3D printing in education and get people more familiar with 3D printing in general,” Ronjini Joshua, a New Matter representative said. “This technology could be the key to inspire kids to dive into mathematics, engineering or even design.

The grant is open to schools all over the country that are looking to expand their technology programs. Schools like Greenport can receive grants that include three MOD-t 3D printers, 15 spools of filament, and 15 additional build plate surfaces. Any Long Island schools that receive the grant will be notified on March 4, 2016.

For schools that do not get the grant, a MOD-t costs $400.

 “It’s a dual investment in both the technology itself and how your faculty or teaching staff are gonna use it,” Jason Guzman, an educational technologist with Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning and Stony Brook Alum, said.

Guzman was a public school teacher and now focuses on how to incorporate technology into education. He says technology helps students with problem solving skills, interaction with the material and independence in thought.

“[3D printers] have so much potential in the context of a well supported classroom with an instructor that really understands the pedagogy that’s gonna be used to get the value out of what they can do,”  Guzman said.

Michael Davies also believes that it is crucial for technology classes to be more inclusive. He noted that the 3D printers help promote his elective to a wider and more diverse range of students. In the middle of his classes Davies mentioned that he sees students start to move their eyes towards the printers and will stop his lesson to teach people about them.

“Luckily enough, my shop is very close to the gymnasium,” Davies said. “Students hear the interesting noises in my classroom and rush in to see what’s going on.”