Union City School District Nourishes Student-Driven Learning through “Making”

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Title 1 District adopts the Dremel Idea Builder to aid in scaling the makerspace environment, reinforce a design-thinking model in STEAM education

“The maker movement has vast potential, but it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all initiative,” said Rafael Franca, manager, Dremel 3D Education.

Makerspaces are expected to reach accelerated classroom adoption in less than one year, according to the K-12 Edition of the 2016 New Media Consortium Horizon Report. As educators continue to embrace a transformative shift in classroom instruction and design, the Union City School District in New Jersey pioneers district-wide STEAM curriculum through the integration of 3D printing technology with the Dremel Idea Builder.

As a Title 1 district with 98 percent minority enrollment and nationally known for an above-average graduation rate, UCSD leaders credit much of the district’s success to a mission for technology equity. Marcos Navas, a Dremel Idea Builder Ambassador and technology facilitator at UCSD, scales a design-thinking model to work within the district’s number of STEAM initiatives. From project-based lessons in STEAM curriculum to summer-long STEAM camps, Navas facilitates “making” in projects big and small.    

“STEAM is not a separate subject or time set aside for students to play with kits and tools,” Navas said. “It’s embedded into all curricula, so students can explore practical solutions for real-world problems.”

Erecting a classroom makerspace can be an intimidating project for educators. Navas eases this adoption by helping educators fuse existing STEAM curriculum with project-based learning. Navas considers the applications of a traditional lesson to guide classroom instruction, where he often introduces the Idea Builder in K-12 instruction as a tool for students to visualize abstract concepts and work through practical problems.

“The maker movement has vast potential, but it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all initiative,” said Rafael Franca, manager, Dremel 3D Education. “We listen to how districts like UCSD are using the Idea Builder to forge new learning experiences, and provide resources for students to approach a 3D printer as a flexible tool, rather than a stand-alone technology.”

Because UCSD is home to a large population of bilingual students, many of who emigrated from Spanish-speaking countries, Navas believes 3D printing gives students the freedom to rethink and tinker, consequently capturing new perspectives applicable beyond the classroom.

“As an educator, it’s a powerful moment to watch students proudly showcase what they’ve made and accomplished,” Navas said. “I’ve seen students from rigorous problem-solvers and take learning past the limits.”

To learn more about UCSD STEAM initiatives and adoption of 3D printing technology, read the complete story at http://bit.ly/2eYYfTU.

About Dremel
Founded in 1934, Dremel is the industry standard in leadership and excellence for versatile tools systems. The Dremel 3D Idea Builder expands the brand’s reach from the workshop to the classroom to provide educators and students with cutting-edge technology for STEM education. Built upon the brand’s dedication to empowering makers through creativity, precision and project enjoyment, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder nurtures student confidence by giving them a tool to design and build their own models to understand lessons. With available curriculum to draw connections between 3D printing and instruction, Dremel is providing educators with the support they need to transform classrooms. Learn more about classroom applications and curriculum-based learning at 3dprinter.dremel.com.

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Editor’s Note: Dremel® is a registered brand name and is used as an adjective to describe the products made by the Dremel brand.

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Kelsea Kierstead
C.Blohm & Associates
+1 608-216-7300 Ext: 24
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Orlando Deodato
Dremel
224-232-4717 https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education
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