What's happening? Today I'm scheduled to be on two "webinars". The first is about 3D printing from the United States Naval Academy, and the host Captain Brad Baker, along with Formlabs. I'm writing this during the first few minutes and I am genuinely impressed at the Navy's commitment to 21st Century technology. The website is https://www.usna.edu/Makerspace/index.php
Build, make, and test is the process by which they create functional parts and machines. This goes along with what I've been telling my classes the last few years: Produce rather than consume.
Remember, 3D printing is just a nickname. The concept is called "Additive Engineering". This ia a process the Navy wants to take mobile, on board ships, so they can replace parts on the spot. Right now, Captain Baker is explaining that Cybersecurity is an enormous concern, because designs can be printed from anywhere, so once a design is sent over the internet, that design can be stolen. Interesting.
As part of the learning process, Captain Baker is showing many of the projects that were NOT successful, explaining that they learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. He's also explaining that although the SLA printer is more expensive, SLA printing has many more successes in final products, and their "resolution" is far superior.
The US Naval Academy Makerspace has two labs, a beginner lab and an advanced lab. Perhaps, when school starts in person, we can adopt that approach with the UKITS. Both labs have a "POST PROCESSING AREA" for cleaning and curing parts, allowing the material to set. Captain Baker is emphasizing that all users must be experts in materials. The printers do a lot of the work, but if the user doesn't understand which material to use and how to use it, projects will not be successful, just wasting money. Most of his prints are prototypes. For end use prints, you will need an extremely expensive printer that will use metal or ceramics. Therefore, he recommends that beginner users use plastics for builds.
This is the beginning of real 21st Century thinking and working, including the distance collaboration from Formlabs, but also the United States Navy. Personally, I find this encouraging because it shows the kids of CC that the world is larger place than just what they see everyday at CC.
Now, Captain Baker is explaining how they use the iPhone to scan a person's face, then take the scan to make a custom facemask out of biomedical resin. Resin is a clear plasticruly a 21st century solution. Formlabs has been swamped with demand for their SLA printers so people can produce their own PPE.
Captain Baker is now showing how they produce home made radiation detectors. Makes you wonder what else they have that they cannot show us because of security concerns. This illustrates another concept I've been saying for 30 years, CVUSD needs a serious upgrade to the curriculum, if they want to add value to the kids. If they just want to perpetuate a culture, then they should continue to promote the dual language program.
The wealth of knowledge and abilities that outside agencies possess should inspire our students.
Next up, UBTECH with Paige Carlson. She will be taking over for Xandy.
AI Curriculum for virtual learning due next week from UBTECH, so that's a positive note going forward. I don't know how we can get the kits to the students, and then have the kits disinfected. This will require new ideas.
Implementation guides for elementary will include using the UKIT Grades 3-5, the Beginning kit. I'm not sure about the Intermediate Kit and how we will use that since their number is limited. I'd like to see the kits put to use. Students need practice with them early and often to build proficiency. Remember, the level of proficiency will determine their path in the following years.