Prints of the Future: New 3D Workspaces and School Competition

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Prints of the Future: New 3D Workspaces and School Competition

Maggie Walker's new Dragon Digital Maker Space

Maggie Walker's new Dragon Digital Maker Space

Maggie Walker's new Dragon Digital Maker Space

Maggie Walker's new Dragon Digital Maker Space

Kate Farmer

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A new era has come upon us. This year, Mr. Jeff Hall has created new digital workspaces that feature the crown jewel of today’s technology: the 3D printer. And, unlike the famously incompetent WiFi, this Maggie Walker tech actually works.

The new DragonDigital Maker Space boasts four high-resolution iMacs and two 3D printers, complete with applications like GarageBand, Photoshop, and Illustrator. In addition, Mr. Hall and fellow Maggie Walker administrators are starting a new school-wide Digital Maker Challenge using these new resources- and the winner receives a cash prize.

 

“This is a big year,” said Hall. “A lot of times at this school, kids are asked to create something digitally for a class. But, if you don’t have a piece of hardware, running the software can be a problem. Sometimes, students can buddy up if a kid has a Mac. But not every kid does. The new workspace has everything you would need for a project.”

 

“And this isn’t purely academic. Maybe you want to do some kind of music recording or write your own music. The new computers have GarageBand built in. And, there’s photo editing and things like Illustrator that are great for designing a flyer or poster for a club. The computers are not solely for the printer– they’re for anyone who wants to take advantage of the various creative software”.

 

In addition to new software and computers, the Maker Space also has two brand new 3D printers. “The big piece is the 3D printers,” said Hall. “Most everyone has at least heard of them by now. Right now we’re trying to raise full awareness of them. There’s just so much you can do. In my digital art class, we’re utilizing these tools. We’ve already made various sculptures. In Mr. Webb’s class, he’s working on projects where they print out examples of mathematical formulas. These formulas then create specific patterns with shadows that you can’t get any other way. The 3D printer really is fascinating technology.”

 

Of course, you can’t just press a button and out pops a 3D design. “We are teaming up with the Future Problem Solvers and PUGWASH clubs and are offering a series of training specifically on 3D printers, like how to use the software and create new things. There will be sessions some Wednesdays during lunch,” Hall says. “We’ll be learning about the DragonDigital site and showcasing the dimensions of it, then moving onto more advanced programs like Google Sketchup, which you can use to create all these cool objects.”

 

Because of all this new technology, administration has another big plan. “Coming in the second semester of this year, we’re going to have Maker Challenges,” Hall announced. “Basically, there will be teams of students who will work together to solve a real-world problem, perhaps with the use of a 3D printer. The teams will compete for cash prizes. Right now we are working with the Technology Integrator Team as well as other teachers and administrators to come up with a challenge and to find sponsors.  The main idea of this competition will be to open up the opportunity for all these very smart kids to get together and use all of the knowledge from different subject areas to work together to solve a meaningful problem. A meaningful problem that something like a 3D printer could help resolve. As for the monetary winnings, we’ll have to see how much we can get from sponsors.”

 

Interested in printing something cool? Visit DragonDigital.weebly.com. “We 100% encourage kids to get on the website and come and use it now. The website contains tutorials on all the different applications in the workspace. Most printed designs take between two to twenty-four hours to print and we only have two printers, so the printing queue will grow. Right now there’s nobody in the queue, so jump on it now! There is a cost of twelve cents a gram when printing non-class related things, but that’s not very much and each print usually amounts to around two to five dollars.”

 

Already, many tech-savvy students are excited to get involved with these new opportunities. “I’m excited about all the new technology coming in, and the new competition” says Grace May (`20). “I’m really happy to be in a school with so many resources to help me learn.”

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