Calcasieu School Board investing in 3D printing technology for students

Published 7:49 am Monday, May 30, 2022

By Emily Burleigh

The Calcasieu Parish School Board has invested in 200 MakerBot SKETCH classroom sets. This will total 400 SKETCH 3D printers to be distributed to schools in the district.

The goal  is to provide students access to innovative technologies that will advance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education.

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“Technology is continuously evolving, so we need to give all of our students equal opportunities to succeed,” said Kim Leblanc, Chief Technology Officer at Calcasieu Parish School Board. “We wanted to provide them with the technologies that enhanced their critical thinking, collaboration and creativity so that they can compete both academically and in the modern workforce.”

3D printing technology not only supports the development of problem solving and design thinking skills, but also synergizes STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and art education.

“3D printing can be used in a number of ways to reinforce core learning objectives across several subject areas,” said Andrea Zermeño, MakerBot Education marketing manager. “From exploring clear STEM applications in engineering and physics, to understanding mathematical theorems, to blending cross-curricular projects involving history, music, foreign languages, and more.”

“The study and exploration of art, history and music is engrained in the physical,” said Zermeño. “Holding, touching and interacting with these items are integral to getting a true sense of what the artist, maker and historical figures would have thought and felt in those moments.”

MakerBot, a Stratasya company, has become recognized as a global leader of the 3D printing industry. The company strives to redefine and empower engineers of today and tomorrow. “We believe that STEAM education is important to the success of future generations,” said Nadav Goshen, CEO of MakerBot.

“Calcasieu Parish School Board continues to stand at the forefront of education to provide the latest technologies to its students to enable them to succeed.” said Goshen.

Calcasieu was introduced to MakerBot technology through their EdTech partner Bluum. Bluum is the leading provider of transformational technology solutions for educators.

“We appreciate an education technology partner like Bluum that understands the ultimate goal of technology is to enhance teaching and student learning,” Leblanc said.

“We applaud the efforts of the Calcasieu staff in equipping its students with cutting-edge technology to support their learning journey,” said Ryan Semans, Bluum Vice President of Product. “The creativity and resourcefulness shown by Calcasieu’s staff to use secure Title I and Title IV funds to help level the playing field for student learning are commendable.”

“We’re proud to partner with such a forward-thinking school district” Semans said.

The MakerBot SKETCH classroom sets were purchased by utilizing Title 1 and Title 4 federal funds. The purchase totaled more than $4.1 million. Each SKETCH Classroom with include two SKETCH 3D printers, ISTE-certified MakerBot Certification training programs for both educators and students, and necessary accessories and materials.

The school district will continue to run additional activities to engage students, including tech camps for the summer, design competitions, a STEM bus, and community events to showcase school technologies.