You may have heard of one school or another 3D printing but you’ve probably never heard of an entire school district doing so. Through the district's Board of Education and the support of Josh S. Weston, former CEO of ADP, the Montclair School District received twenty-seven MakerBot Replicator® Desktop 3D Printers.
All eleven schools in the Montclair School District will be 3D printing with MakerBot. That’s seven elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. After the 3D printers are distributed in early January, each school will have three MakerBot 3D printers.
From an early age, students first learn 3D printing technology and take on simple printing projects. In middle school, students progress to learning CAD software, creating their own designs, and testing those designs through iterative prototypes. For example, 7th and 8th grade students in those afterschool workshops designed both a practical item, like a book holder, and a creative item.
In high school, the projects become advanced. For example, Montclair High School’s 10th-grade STEM students were already collaborating with an engineer every two weeks to design, 3D print, and soldier parts for building drones. Another project would include 3D printing E-nable hands for children that need them.
By the time students go to college, they can immediately start working on projects relevant to their majors and future careers because they are already proficient in CAD design and 3D printing. That is a tremendous advantage over students who don’t have this experience.
Given the number of 3D printers to distribute, English, Taylor, and the Montclair District will be training two teachers at each school. Training for CAD will be in early January and for 3D printing in early March at the Picatinny Arsenal. Those teachers will then go on to train others at their school. To ensure consistency and quality, administrators will work with educators at Montclair State University to develop design standards and rollout more training.