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Stephen Lethbridge's discussion posts

  • Stephen Lethbridge 17 Dec 2013 10:48pm () in Why 3D printers?

    Agree re the book Invent to Learn - a must read!

  • Stephen Lethbridge 17 Dec 2013 10:16pm () in Why 3D printers?

    Thanks Tessa

    You are correct the 15 sec sound bites in news artcles are never really enough to capture the essence. I wish they had used the "It isnt really about the printing it is about thinking and manuipulating in the virtual 3D world" comment as it would have made me sound more intelligent than the "our MoE visitors liked it - great engagement!"

    I am a firm believer that there is one killer app in education - A thinking Teacher who adapts to change. We are like every other school we have teachers who are groundbreaking in their approach to using technology and those teachers who doing a great job - the second wave if you like. The biggest factor has been professional freedom - freedom to experiment, fail, redesign and try again. With any resource, technology, plan it is the teacher that 'makes the magic possible'

    Daniel is moving on in 3 days - off to high school but we could have some other children talking about all things tech. We had #thebigupgrade crew film us for a day last week relating to all things tech - no shortage of kids willing to talk.

    The key for me as a leader has been to play and tinker with the technology. I had no clue at the start of the year I would have built a 3D printer (even though it was under expert supervision) I had no idea we would have students coding, Junior kids using scratch or Senior students collaborating with another group of year 8s in another school on the their own video game using Unity. I had no idea of the impact that arduino technology would have on my view of bridging the analogue and digital worlds. More than anything the maker movement is having a powerful influence over my thinking about curriculum. 

    The potential is huge! I cringed when Maurice Williamson said 3D printers are dangerous as they can print guns... As a maker friend of mine said "if you want to build a gun you wouldn't use a printer" You are right - this tech will be pervasive and as with any tech we will have creators and consumers - our kids need a creator mentality. I loved a comment today from an 11 year old in Zombie Robots - "Hey Mr L I mucked around with the code look what we can make this circuit do now..." As teachers we need to 'muck around with the code' are we using the technology of the day today? Are we relying on the technology to do it for us? Are we the slave to the technology bound by its apparent limitations or are we the masters of the technology making it bend to purpose?

    Now that this is getting into a rambling 'pre-termintor' rant I should breathe.




  • Stephen Lethbridge 17 Dec 2013 5:39pm () in Why 3D printers?

    I suppose this is where I come in as the principal in that Breakfast piece this morning. 3D printers are not new technology - in fact in using 3D printers we are not prepararing kids for their futures - we are just using the technology of the day - the here and now.

    3D printers are more than printing plastic models and must be seen in the bigger picture of thinking digitally in 3 dimensions. Being able to print out the end product is a bonus. We have 4 commercial 3D printers and 2 reprap printers that can print themselves so you can build more!

    I see 3D printing as creation - we can design / draw in Google SketchUp, FormZ, TinkerCad, OpenSCAD and then have that design built for us to use. Examples are attachements for robots, stands for devices, key rings, buttons, moolds for chocolate, replacement plastic parts - even hooks for school bags (normally $15 per hook for metal under a dollar to produce your own!), Hydropnics punnets, protoyping and modelling wind turbines, Art projects in a virtual world can become physical through the act of printing them out - vases, bracelets jewellery. The tool is only an instrument of the creative person behind it.

    The power comes when you combine the printing with other maker technology like Arduino (microcontrollers) and electronics. An example of this I saw today - I had a group of kids putting together arduino light sensing robots from @zombiebothq the robot has no body - it is over to the kids to make this out of cardboard or lego or wood or as one 10 year old said - I could take measurements of the arduino and the breadboard and draw a case for it in sketchup then print it out! CREATION!

    As always the teacher is crucial - let us look at the normal colour printer - yes you could download pictures and print them - is that creation? Same with 3D printers, you can download from thingiverse.com or you could scan using 123DCatch and print out someone's head or you could CREATE.

    This is the new frontier - do you remember getting your kids to design an amazing playground? Then we usually said let's build a model of it to sell the idea to the BoT. The resultant model looked rubbish as it was made of tooth picks and toilet rolls. Kids know that is budget! But design it virtually in 3D and then have the bonus of printing it as a scale model? - wow the product actually looks like the design.

    We will be printing our own spare parts for everyday items within 5 years - these will be downloaded to you home printer and then printed. Our kids must be able to work in a 3D virtual space in order to be creators.

    So to answer the 'I can't see the point' with a question of my own - I can't see the end to the possibilities...

    The key to your question Tessa is not the technology - in fact leave out the technology full stop! The real issue is us teachers - how are we creating opportunity for creative, innovative authentic learning...

    This repsonse is a little hurried and I reserve the right to edit and shape it further. It will be one of the areas I blog about over the summer when I launch my new blog...



  • Stephen Lethbridge 18 Sep 2013 12:43pm () in Minecraft server online and available 24hrs a day

    We have used YAMS Yet Another Minecraft Server to create our persistent world. It is housed on a virtual server and I remote in using a remote desktop connection to then configure the available servers. I remote in becasue YAMS administration is really only stable on Internet Explorer so being an apple fan I need to remote in!

    YAMS a great tool for managing the server. We have opened up ports in the router to allow offsite access, am working through addons that will log chat records too. I logged into the Taupaki School Server from home last night and we will go live day one of term 4. I want to have some world infrastructure built by then including a rudimentary library. Very keen for the kids to do the building.

    Very excited kids at school and parents are saying that they would want their kids playing on our server instead of open slather on the net! Interesting.

    A big thanks to Andy Pearce from TTS who has really managed this process for us!


  • Stephen Lethbridge 17 Jun 2013 11:27am () in Update from Taupaki

    We are not yet set up for Minecraft - I am still away from school on leave. I hopefully have the techie sorted to think about Minecraft Server on our school machine.

    I am also going to experiment with PrintCraft - where you log in to the PrintCraft server (with minecraft premium account) and build on a plot of land. You then download the construction in .stl format and then print it on 3D printers! (Of which we now have 6 - having just built two in the last week)



  • Stephen Lethbridge 17 Jun 2013 11:25am () in iPad v PC

    I concur with Monika - you can have networked iPads on a wireless network but only iPads. The way to go is laptop/desktop only. Perhaps in the future there may be more integration. Havent checked about Chromebooks though!