New Paltz High School To Receive 3-D Printers

SUNY New Paltz’s 3-D printing initiative program has offered to supply New Paltz High School (NPHS) with two MakerBot printers on extended loan in order to introduce the craft to younger generations.

Dean of SUNY New Paltz School of Science and Engineering Dan Freedman said that this partnership first arose from a New Paltz High School art teacher, Jen Cone, who expressed interest in the 3-D printing program last May.

“When we first announced the Digital Design and Fabrication program last May, she got in touch with myself and [Dean of Fine and Performing Arts] Paul Kassel and expressed interest in the program,” Freedman said. “Jen took the Crafting in Virtual Space 1 and has used that and the MakerBot we loaned NPHS to introduce her students to 3-D design and printing.”

In order to expand the MakerBot’s prevalence at the high school, more connections were made between the College’s engineering department and NPHS engineering teacher Alexis Mallory, Freedman said.

Mallory is a teacher in a program called “Project Lead The Way,” (PLTW) which is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM)-driven movement that provides the K-12 curriculum with preparation in problem solving, critical thinking and economical innovation, according to its website. One of her classes, Introduction to Engineering Design, is one of these PLTW courses that will utilize the MakerBot from the College.

“We are particularly interested in working with other school districts to help them implement 3-D printing,” Freedman said. “We are interested in seeing how [the high school] uses the printers in various curricula. 3-D design and printing has the most obvious uses in art and engineering and our collaboration with NPHS covers both of those. We also can make more advanced 3-D printing technologies available to the high school so they can continue to push the envelope [of this program].”

Freedman said he hopes the MakerBot loan will highlight strengths in engineering, computer science, technology, and the innovation and creativity of the arts among the high school students.

“The point of using 3-D printing educationally is that there are many fewer restrictions on what you can create,” he said.  “The goal is to teach students to think about creating their own novel solution to a particular problem.  This can take place at any level, it just depends on what problems you use.”

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Kristen is a fourth-year journalism major and editor-in-chief of The Oracle.