GE Program Brings New Learning Opportunities

GE Program Brings New Learning Opportunities to Six Lakota Schools
Posted on 01/15/2020
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Collage of students with 3D printers

Sixth grade science classes at Endeavor are using 3D printers to make crystals for a presentation on rocks and minerals. Cherokee social studies classes are making pieces for their board games on ancient civilizations. Lakota East high school students are using 3D printers for projects in nearly every subject area -- they even used their creativity and knowledge of 3D printing to make ornaments for a holiday tree in the school’s Innovation Hub.

Examples like these are happening more often now thanks to the GE Additive Education Program. The Innovation Hubs at Cherokee, Endeavor, VanGorden, Plains Junior, Ridge Junior and Lakota East received 3D packages from GE last fall that included a Polar Cloud account, a 3D printer and STEAM curriculum/lesson plans. Lakota schools were among the 982 schools in 23 countries that were awarded packages in September. 

This is a true example of “WEareInThisTogether” (one of the pillars in Lakota’s Strategic Plan). Staff spouses, student parents and others alerted Lakota about the education program being offered by our community partner.

“The program aligns directly with our WE are EMPOWERED initiative and the vision of our Innovation Hubs to expand future ready learning opportunities for our students,” said Lakota’s Chief Technology Officer Todd Wesley. “We were fortunate enough to have six schools’ applications accepted and awarded. We are so grateful to GE for adding to our K-12 3D printer fleet and resources to further expand student real world learning opportunities for our students.”

The program is part of a five-year initiative by GE aimed at accelerating the awareness and education of 3D printing, and to build a pipeline of talent that understands 3D design and printing when they enter the workplace.

The new 3D printers allow more Lakota students to make use of the technology. “3D printing is a slow process and the duration of a single print job can take hours or even days. If an entire class is submitting 3D print jobs for a class project, the ability to use multiple printers tremendously speeds up the process,” said East’s Innovation Specialist Ryan Corris.

As a part of the grant, the schools also have access to the Polar Cloud, which allows students and teachers to submit jobs to an online print queue.

“It’s a much smoother process now,” said Corris. “Another goal we have for the future is to have some students get comfortable with the concepts behind the actual printing process and become student print managers.”

Staff and students are constantly finding new ways to incorporate 3D printers into their education. The technology complements just about any subject area, but also helps students develop important skills like creativity and problem-solving.

“They provide an outlet for creativity,” said Lakota East student Jacob Larson. “3D printers allow me to design and create, plus learn by seeing what staff and other students have created. I have used 3D printers for physics projects, and I plan to continue to use them for my engineering classes. 3D printers provide a truly unique and powerful learning opportunity.”