Enterprising teaching and learning with Chromebooks and MakerBots at Campbell High School

STEM students and teachers at Campbell High School are jazzed about their two MakerBot Z18 3D printers.

The 3D printers arrived in good time for the beginning of the 2018 school year and complements the Better Schools for our Kids - Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) Chromebook initiative.  Support teams and vendors provided attentive customer support to ensure that STEM teachers and students could begin the academic year with enhanced learning experiences. "All I can say is WOW!" shared Jessica Eustace, Information Technology Officer at Campbell High School.

Jessica first ran test prints from Thingiverse to make sure that the prints were perfect (and they were).  STEM teachers prepared students by letting them have a ‘playaround’ with TinkerCAD on their new Chromebooks during the Enrichment (passion project) classes held on Friday afternoons.  Many students immediately got on and started to model objects for projects they had in mind for their STEM enrichment time.  A week later groups of students asked if they could attempt printing their TinkerCAD design. Their STEM teachers and IT Officer did prepare them for the event of first attempt fails and that it would all be part of the learning experience.  The products they produced were amazing, even the students were gobsmacked!

The first project printed on one of the 3D printers using TEL Chromebooks and TinkerCAD was from a year 7 group of students during their STEM elective class, lead by Yi Qing Jin and Jaspreet Kaur, who made a prototype for a pen/stylus that would have the ability to be a pen, pencil and a compatible stylus for the Chromebooks.  Although it came out three times the size they expected, they proudly showcased it to their teachers and to a visiting Deputy Principal that Friday afternoon. Their next plans are to revise the design and to investigate the technology behind the Wacom stylus to see what they need to do with their pen to make it compatible.

The next project was from a year 8 group of students who used their TEL Chromebooks and TinkerCAD to create a propeller system for a remote control car they were customizing in their STEM CSIRO CREST Science enrichment project, lead by STEM teacher Breannah Burke. It came out smaller than what they expected but they were instantly making plans on what they should be doing next.  Little did their IT Officer and head of STEM and IT Co-ordinator, Morgan Pyner, know that the group would get together on the weekend to hatch a plan!

On the Monday morning, a student from the year 8 group produced iteration 1.2 of their project.  To understand scale a little bit better, the group were given the opportunity to 3D print a full model of the car.  Once again they used TinkerCAD.  They then found a car chassis from Thingiverse they could use instead of building one themselves. It took five and a half hours of printing.  The first thing they did ask the next morning was how their creation turned out?  They were once again amazed at the quality they could achieve.  They got to terms with some of the scale issues such as the axles that were not quite the right size or thickness and some parts that were too small to take off the base without breaking.  The group were still really happy and are again working on improvements.  One of the students took the model to their technology class and used a Dremel tool to detail it.

More recently, the STEM teachers were approached by a year 7 student who has a pet duck with one leg, he wanted to make a prosthetic for his duck using the 3D printers.  He has started the modeling process using TinkerCAD and has had some positive results with his work so far.

Non-STEM teachers are looking into using this technology too.  One of the school’s History teachers is looking to use the 3D printers to create ancient Egyptian ‘artefacts’ and models of pyramids with one of her History classes to make the concepts more tactile and hands on.

Other findings Campbell High School would like to share:
  • The ease of use of TinkerCAD on Chromebooks
  • TinkerCAD also works with our laser cutter
  • The value of STEM specific professional learning
  • Projects provide opportunity to developing a positive attitude towards risk taking in order to succeed
  • More students taking up the Chromebook offer because they do not want to miss out on the ‘fun’
  • Having such a high uptake of Chromebooks has meant that our school owned Chromebooks can be used in other areas such as giving laptops to relief teachers to use and having a Chromebook near our sick bay so staff can enter in students into the sick bay register on Sentral
  • We have a year 7 ‘front office/student services runner program’. Our front office staff can now ask the students to catch up with classwork or do homework on their TEL Chromebooks on Google classroom.
Because of the high uptake of Chromebooks the school transformed its Library computer lab into a docking station area for Chromebooks.  This is to provide full keyboards and larger screens when needed (a Campbell High School year 10 leader’s idea).  Parents have also asked for advice on buying docking stations for their child’s Chromebook for use at home.

Teachers and students at Campbell High School are motivated more than ever to continue to excel and achieve using the Chromebooks and 3D printers during STEM classes and beyond!