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Student agency when purchasing a 3D printer

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Duration: 3:51

Lower Moutere School principal, Chris Bascand relates the story of how a Year 8 student lead the researching, fundraising, and purchase of a 3D printer for the school. He explains how the printer is being used for learning.

Chris Bascand:
So, Slade, he is a year 8 student at our school. He is really interested in technology. He came and saw me one afternoon and asked if it was possible that we start exploring to purchase a 3D printer.
Our conversation went along the lines of look at what’s available. I wanted him to take that ownership. So we looked at a number of them. He went away and did some reviews on them. The one he came up with was about $1300 exclusive so he had to work out exactly what’s going to be the plan to raise that amount of money. Slade’s thoughts were why don’t we do some sausage sizzles and if we did one every Friday over a term excluding the last Friday it could be a really good option so typically a sausage sizzle will raise $200. So when we mapped that out over a term - less the expenses of the sausages and the bread - he was going to make about $800 over the term.

So I then said, well, I’ll meet you dollar for dollar. Slade organised rosters for a lot of the students in the senior school, to do the sausage sizzles. The word got out and a local orchardist came forward and said I’ll give you $500 towards it, I like what you’re doing. So with that, and the school just topped up the difference, within the term we had enough money to purchase the 3D printer.

Slade Park:
We got the printer, and I got to stand up in assembly and say that it is coming, which was pretty cool.

Chris Bascand:
So part of the deal with Slade being a year eight and us getting it part way through the year, was that his responsibility was to ensure that other students knew how to work this piece of technology because we want something like this to be sustainable, not just an object that sits in the corner of the room.

Slade Park:
Part of the deal with Mr. B was that I had to teach other people how to use it after I learnt how to use it.

Chris Bascand:
Just to see him, and his enthusiasm and passion for making this work and drawing other children into it has been - that’s magic! It’s a different lens on outcomes.
That’s simply what this 3D printer has provided for us - a different lens for a different outcome - it’s just given us different options. And as teachers sometimes we don’t have to be the experts, that has been the biggest game-changer. Especially in this generation that we’ve got of students and moving forward that we don’t have to the experts, actually let the kids just take the lead. But actually it’s about making - it’s not about using the 3D printer for the sake of it, it’s actually why are you doing this as opposed to maybe making something out of clay or developing something out of cardboard. Why have you chosen this way?
The advice I’d give is, if the students are geared up and want to do it, take away the barriers, and let them try. Our job as principals and teachers is to actually enable things to happen in our schools, not try and control everything that happens in the school and that can sometimes inhibit things.

I think what Slade has done is set a precedent. It’s about putting words into action really, by enabling Slade to have the reins to do this within the school, what’s happened across the school is a number of other things have kicked off. So the students see us as the people they can come to with an idea and how are you going to help us see it through. If children learn to trust us, work with us now, we’re just lifting the lid on so many possibilities. That’s our job. It’s also good to be able to go back to the community and say thank you for backing this, this is what we’ve done and this is what it can do, and your children love it, thank you.

Tags: Primary, 3D Printing