As the Mid-Hudson host site for the New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP), SUNY New Paltz is tasked with nurturing a community of dedicated K-12 teachers and providing them with opportunities to develop expertise in classroom content and pedagogical practice.
This month, a week-long 3D printing institute, held by the School of Education, gave regional K-12 teachers a chance to immerse themselves in digital design and fabrication under the guidance of faculty who are well-versed with the technology.
“We’re in the brainstorming stage of how 3D printing impacts curriculum and learning in grades 7-12,” said Rosemary Millham, Master Teacher campus director and associate professor in the School of Education. “This week we’ve been working on designing lesson plans that engage teens in critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and invention, all while still meeting curricular goals.”
The institute was supported by the NYSMTP, the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center (MHTC) and the SUNY Teacher and Leader Education Network (S-TEN). It was designed to grant local Master Teachers access to eight MakerBot 3D printers and the freedom to experiment with design and materials.
“It’s been very gratifying for me to see teachers grappling with this technology,” said Aaron Knochel, assistant professor in the Departments of Art and Art Education. “We’re trying to build an environment where the teachers themselves can find and solve problems.”
Knochel, who worked with the Master Teachers in the 3D institute, said it is vital that they feel prepared to solve problems and use 3D printing authoritatively in the classroom.
“This is on the edge of innovation in k-12 schools. These teachers not only need to have the professional strengths to build curriculum around 3D printing, but the technical skill to do the range of troubleshooting tasks that the printers require,” he said.
Of the 66 Master Teachers for whom the College serves as regional hub, 25 have taken part in this or previous 3D printing training programs in an effort to bring this technology into school districts where it has not yet been deployed.
Paul Bianchi of Horace Greeley High School, in Chappaqua, N.Y., has been working to bring 3D printers and digital design courses to his students.
“There’s a ton of enthusiasm for these kinds of classes,” Bianchi said. “The kids have really been talking it up, and parents are very supportive. As I’ve been preparing for the fall, the Master Teacher program and SUNY New Paltz have been terrific. There are a lot of people here who are expert in this field, so it’s been a great place to bring my questions.”
About the Master Teacher Program
The NYSMTP is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to partner colleges and universities with K-12 educators in New York in hopes of strengthening and expanding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education across the state. New Paltz is one of four original SUNY host campuses. The initiative has since expanded to 10 host campuses.
More information about the NYSMTP is available at http://www.suny.edu/masterteacher/.