Mount Olive High School
Mount Olive High School MiLL lab
The MakerBot Innovation Center at MOHS is part of the Marauder Innovation Learning Lab (MiLL), a STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning space.
Mount Olive High School in New Jersey has become the first secondary school worldwide to open its very own 3D technology innovation centre, using MakerBot 3D printers.
Two teachers at MOHS, Megan Boyd and David Bodmer, are spearheading the effort to encourage their pupils to become familiar with 3D printing. The goal of the MakerBot Innovation Center is to provide students with a learning environment that replicates modern industrial manufacturing methods.
“Our goal with the MakerBot Innovation Center is to provide students a learning environment that replicates what industry is like,” said Boyd. “We’ve been talking to many leaders at the college and industry level to better understand what skills students will need to succeed. We heard over and over again that in our rapidly evolving economy, skills like problem-solving and collaboration will be much more important for students than purely technical skills.
“The MakerBot Innovation Center will help us teach these skills as it offers a very different, more hands-on learning environment that gives students more freedom to experiment, learn from failure and progress their thinking.”
The large-scale 3D printing installation is part of MOHS’ Marauder Innovation Learning Lab (MiLL), a STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, arts, maths) learning space. MOHS’ MiLL houses a ThinkerSpace and a workshop area. The ThinkerSpace is where students meet and discuss projects, while the workshop area is home to workbenches and tools, allowing prototypes to be taken to the next stage. Overall, the MiLL encourages students to approach problems in holistic ways. The MiLL mainly serves students of engineering and industrial design.
Mount Olive High School
Mount Olive High School lab
A student testing out the new 3D technology at Mount Olive High School
Now kitted out with 3D printing technology, the MiLL will advance students’ learning. MOHS believe 3D printing in an important medium for students to test their ideas and take more risks. They now have access to 33 MakerBot 3D Printers, which enables them to print entire class loads at once, rather than individually load prints on to a flash drive and cue them for printing. This faster output means students can receive feedback on their projects within hours, as opposed to weeks.
“When you can quickly make changes and evolve your idea, it’s easier to take criticism from others,” said Bodmer. “We consider that part of the core skill-set that students need to succeed. Students need to learn to be flexible in their thinking and be receptive to feedback to refine and develop their ideas. We don’t know what these students will end up doing when they enter the job market but these are the type of skills that will benefit them in any career path.”
Students have already printed over 700 objects in the MakerBot Innovation Centre in the last three months. Boyd and Bodmer want to further advance the capabilities of their MakerBot Innovation Centre in 2017. They are already working on a STEAM Capstone course that will allow students to apply their newly-learned skills in realistic industry-standard environments and they plan to partner with local companies and non-profit organisations.
MOHS are the first secondary school to implement an innovation centre comprising of 3D technology. Most schools have traditionally purchased 3D printers individually. But MOHS wanted to ensure it found an effective way to properly teach the functions and uses of 3D printing. MOHS first received a MakerBot Replicator 2X as a donation from the Josh and Judy Weston Family Foundation in 2013. The printer was incorporated into the curriculum by Boyd and Bodmer. After numerous classroom projects, and a strong demand from their students, MOHS decided to install the MakerBot Innovation Centre in spring 2016.
The MakerBot Innovation Center at MOHS has been financed with help from the Department of Defence and the local Board of Education.