Being a #MERIT18 fellow, I have been feeling way more confident about my teaching and technology skills. It has been so amazing, that I’m coming back to work with a renewed sense of vigor after learning some skills. I have been honestly nervous about teaching MHT by myself without the awesome Mrs. C to guide me. Both the department head and Mrs. C have assured me that I’ll be fine. Growing up, I believed for a really long time that the teacher needs to be an expert in what they teach. Yes, I was pretty unforgiving to my elementary school teachers, who I believed needed to be an expert in all the subjects.
Back to the point. I was feeling pretty good with our 3D printing projects. I thought I’d test out a design to see if it’ll print properly. I took an already completed design from Tinkercad and printed a pumpkin candle holder using a makerbot Replicator 2 printer. It turned out okay. I should have taken the time to add supports in for the hole parts because it ended up cracking when we passed the artifact around in class.
One of the students DD, has had plenty of 3D printing experience from summer camp at Stanford. So he finished his design early and got all setup to print his first design. We found a spool that looked like wood. We thought it would look really cool since he designed a coffin. The supports printed out okay, then when it was left unsupervised, it stopped printing. Yesterday, I grew more and more frustrated. You will see photos of my frustration and failed attempts to print.
I went home defeated, and told my IT person what was troubling me. He listened very well, offered me snacks, and then told me that he didn’t know about 3D printers. He said that I sounded like I needed someone to listen. Then he offered to come into the classroom to take a look, and we can both do research. I declined the offer since he wasn’t actually employed by the school, but warned him that I will take him up on it if I got desperate.
This morning, I shared with the students what was frustrating me about the 3D printing unit. God bless each one of their hearts. They all offered solutions. Two students piped up and said that they have worked with a newer model of our printer and they feel confident about tinkering with it. Half an hour and few tape jobs later, our machine is back to work. Although the assignment wasn’t to fix the printer, they fulfilled one of the class’s goals. I emailed their parents to let them know how happy I was to have them in class. Allowing students to do their thing because each one of them brings something to the table– today was my reminder and a serving of humble pie.
If anyone has any suggestions, hacks, or anything to have the printer print better, I’m totally open and willing to listen!