It has been awhile since I last posted, but you can imagine that summer is a difficult time to work on DTech stuff. My family took a trip to North Carolina for a wedding / kiteboarding and we also spent a month driving through Oregon. Rural Oregon is not the best place to update a blog--or get service for that matter.
We are already into our third week of school and I feel a bit guilty about not posting anything yet. My goal was to post once a week (a vlog or writing), but I have already fallen off that track. I suppose I have an excuse considering all of the start of the year craziness. This year, however, has been quite smooth.
It has been exciting starting the first official DTech cohort of students. Right now the class has 33 sophomore students. They applied for the program during freshmen year. The students are sacrificing half of their lunch to be in the DTech survey course--I am impressed with the turnout considering lunch is sacred social time for many students. They show up because of my superior teaching of course--not! Instead, I think the students like DTech because they have the opportunity to get their hands dirty with CAD, 3D printing, electronics, and entrepreneurship. It will also be a lecture-free course, which I suppose is novel even in our school system which seems to (at least on the surface) support project based learning (PBL).
Right now we are in the middle of the CAD / 3D Printing unit. I wanted to start the year with Onshape CAD and 3D printing because I consider it an essential building block skill for students. Once they know how to do CAD / 3D print, they can do a lot of rapid prototyping. According to our most recent speaker, Tom Weisel (see picture above) from Arch Day Design a medical devices company, fast iteration and prototyping is key to successful engineering. His design process focuses on quickly moving to the prototype stage to see what works, and perhaps more importantly, what doesn't. 3D printing helps reduce the iteration process from weeks to hours. He preached the "fail fast" mantra, though with the caveat that you need to reflect and learn from your failures.
Tom showed the DTech students various medical devices that his small engineering team designed and licensed. It was an awesome presentation because he used language and ideas that the students could easily grasp--not easy for an engineer. It was also cool because he mentioned that they use arduino in the design process, which is actually our next major unit of study after 3D Printing. Apparently we are on to something!
Probably crank out a few more posts within the next week, including a vlog; unless the surf is amazing or my son throws my computer (which he seems to be capable of doing at 17 months old).