Saturday, February 26, 2011

Digital Fabrication

A few times in my lifetime as a teacher, I felt as if I was standing at the edge of the World and seeing the start of a revolution. For example, I remember the very first time I was on the WWW when it was in its infancy. I ordered music from JW Pepper through an early terminal type program called PNMN. It was all words then, but I could order music and interact with other teachers and I felt the world shift.

A few years later, we were all summoned to the, then new, business lab and shown the graphic-based WWW. I was actually sitting in Iowa, hearing audio from the Netherlands. I remember, vividly everything about that experience. My friend, Jenny, was leading the workshop and it was life-changing.

Now, some years later, I am in a very different place watching that same sort of shift. At ISTE Conference (then NECC) 2009, I was privileged to share the stage with Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns and Glen Bull to discuss projects that would get kids involved in school. I watched the skilled Peggy and Glen impress the crowd with the idea of Digital Fabrication in schools and a little machine that would cut out what a student would design. I remember being very impressed, but not fully understanding the implications.

I have watched the progress of this project over the eighteen months since the first presentation and I have been amazed that all around this concept of digital fabrication. I watched the Fab@School project gain national attention and the inventive Glen Bull post the YouTube videos posted below and been totally amazed at this work.

Knowing the software genius, Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns, has been one of the true joys of my life. In addition to designing what I believe is the most teacher/student-friendly software on the market, she is a kind and amazing human being. She allowed me a sneak peek at the Fab@School software that is being created for the digital fabrication movement and it is, as you would expect from something coming from Peggy, wonderful.

Keep an eye out for the progress on this software and the digital fabrication movement. I am certain that you will be seeing the next classroom revolution. If you haven't checked out Dr. Peggy Healy Stearn's software, be sure to check out Stationery Studio*, Community Construction Kit*, Diorama Designer*, The Graph Club 2.0, Neighborhood Map Machineamong others

* indicates software that will have relevancy to the Fab@School project.

Stationery Studio will always be nearest my heart because it introduced me to FableVision!

After you watch the YouTube videos, let me know what amazing things you would invent for your classroom!!!! Be part of the revolution!

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