As I've been using it for the past year or so, I've got some
perspective on how to use a Makerbot in school, and some ideas of what
might work for teachers.
What do you think of a Makerbot Teachers' Academy? The way I've been
scheming it, two or three days would be ideal. In the first day,
teachers would build their kit. First they would apply finish to the
wood, then while it is drying, they'd get introduced to the software
to design. Next, the bodies of the bots would be assembled. Putting
the extruders together and electronics would follow, then the axes and
electronics. It might be possible to build them in one day, but
probably more likely in two.
By assembling them in a group, teachers would get a chance to meet
each other and build the 3D puzzle. Another benefit would be the
increased awareness of how the bot is built which will make repairs
more possible. By the second day, the bots would be built and tuned.
Next up would be design and print sessions on day two or day three.
The group size I'm thinking of is 10 to 15. Most schools have
professional development training money, and the scheduling for the
summer is happening soon. If there were grant funding, the end costs
could be kept as low as possible. Another option would be to get the
hardware and electronics kits from Makerbot and cut the laser parts at
the university machine shop. You well know that teachers have plenty
of things pulling money out of their pockets. There could be two tiers
of tuition: Professional Development only and Bring it Back. In
Professional Development, teachers would participate in the training
and would assist in building the bots. The Bring it Back participants
would work on building their school's bot as they do the training. The
difference in expense would be based on the hardware cost.
I've got some time in my schedule this summer and would love to get
this program rolling. My school classroom could be available for parts
of the summer. I've also got some great students who could assist.
What do you think?