Makerbot: Improving Life at St. Robert

Sam , Daily Life

One may not think that a printer is something to excite the masses. However, this year St. Robert School has welcomed a brand new printer: “The Makerbot 3D printer,” is a new advancement to the school technology and it has the whole community buzzing with anticipation.

The Makerbot websites states, “The all-new MakerBot Replicator combines unparalleled performance with superior results and lasting reliability. The Replicator prints high-quality concept models 30% faster, easier, and with a 25% bigger build volume than its predecessor.” The printer gives students and teachers the experience to create 3D objects for presentations, reports, projects, and papers. It will give a lifelike image to the students’ and teachers’ work. This new inhabitant in the media center has incited many questions, fueling the excitement around the new technology.

Mr. Kierzek, the middle school science teacher who also helps the students to learn how to use the new printer explains, “I think it’s a really cool asset to our school. In the future it will definitely become a more very valuable tool, but at this point in time we are just feeling out how to use it.”

Mr. Kierzek also explained, “As of right now we are only being introduced to this new technology so it’s hard to say [if we are using full advantage of the device]. I know that it will take some time for our school to adapt to it. It’s a really awesome addition to our school and I know we are going to make the most of it!”

An 8th grade student, Ian, happens to be a wiz at all sorts of technology and has been using the new printer quite a bit.
Ian explained,“Any kids can use it [the printer]! The design process for the printer is used by a program that allows you to create a 3D model. I personally use Sketchup because you can download it in almost every device besides a iPad and chromebook. This allows me to create whatever I want. Also, Makerbot supports a program that allows you to make your designs there.”

Both Ian and Mr. Kierzek have considered starting a student discussion group, so that students who feel they can’t learn the programming needed to use the 3D printer can become more confident in their abilities. While there is learning curve in using something like Sketchup, this is learning that is within reach of any student at St. Robert.

Students should use this opportunity to expand their horizons and take a stab at using the 3D printer. This is a very exciting time for the students at St. Robert. Even though the programming may take some training, the printer has opened many doors for the school community. In order to serve more than just the select few who have taken the initiative to learn how to use the printer, more students are encouraged to step up and ask for this learning experience. By doing so, the vast majority of the school can be served instead of just a handful of go-getters.

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