JU offers students the latest educational technology

KNOXVILLE — The Templar School of Education provides all students the opportunity to use a technology space in the Teacher Education Resource Center featuring 3D printers.

The space holds robotics, three 3D printers and twelve different robots for teaching elementary through middle school students.

Director of International Education and Educational Technology, Dr. Chris Templar, spoke on the upgraded technology.

“Schools are adding these Makerspaces to their libraries and to their classrooms. We train teachers for schools so we have to keep up to date,” she said.

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Students played with robotics in a campus trial run (Photo/Clyde Timbs)

Templay said that the 3D printers give educators a unique teaching method for young students.

“Teachers can have the children make things that go along with what they’re learning,” she said. “By the time they get to middle school they can make quite sophisticated things. They use them fairly extensively in the classrooms.”

Templar said the technology is becoming more and more accessible.

“3D printers are going down in price tremendously,” she said. “The first one we bought was $3000, the last one we bought was $250.”

Templar’s Teach Assistant, Donna Babb, said she can teach any student the Tinkercad software to use the printers.

“Tinkercad is a free program where they can go online in their room and build an object and then we can put it on an SD card and print it off for them,” she said. “The printing is ten cents per gram.”

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A 3D printed pencil holder like this takes three and a half hours to print

The 3D printing machines work by heating strands of filament until they melt and reconstructing the fluid in the form of the design.

“It’s really easy and its fun. They can do a lot of things with it, especially with teaching how to graph and teaching mathematics,” Babb said.

Templar said that the education department works hard to continue affording students the opportunity to work with the latest technology.

“We spend time every year, Dr. Krug and I, going through every class and asking what is no longer state-of-the-art and what is state-of-the-art that we need to put in,” she said.

Templar said that, in addition to 3D printing, there are many other areas of technology they are excited to be involved in.

“We’re doing Virtual reality, we’re doing Augmented reality, we’re doing app development for cell phones. We’ve even been flying drones around indoors,” she said.

Templar said that regularly updating technology is necessary for the school to be able to add new programs. The department is hoping to offer a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology degree beginning next year.

Templar will be speaking on robots and early education at the Future of Educational Technology conference in Orlando, Florida at the end of January.

To begin learning Tinkercad software to design your own 3D prints visit here.

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