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Dettah students build phone cases, Hello Kitty with 3D printer

For your next assignment, design a case for your iPhone and print it off using a 3D printer. 

While that may not be exactly what the syllabus looks like at Kaw Tay Whee School in Dettah, some classes appear to be moving in that direction.

A couple of weeks ago, the school purchased a fifth-generation Makerbot 3D printer.

Since then, students have been familiarizing themselves with the device and coming up with designs of their own to print off.

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“First off, it’s amazing and the kids are really interested in it,” said Neil Penney, grade six to eight teacher at the school.

“The kids were talking about drones and then 3D printers and asked if we could get one. They were curious so we said sure.

“I’ve used 3D printers before and this is definitely more people-friendly.

“My class has been hogging it and others are asking for their turn so they’ll get a chance very soon. There are some very keen kids in other grades who would love to explore with it.”

For the most part, students are printing off designs that can be found online.

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Earlier this week, the school shared a picture on Facebook of a Hello Kitty printed using the Makerbot.

“That project was quite big,” said Penney. “They had to print off all the little pieces together and they snap together almost like Lego.

“Now people are debating what to dress her in because you have the option of printing off various parts so it’s pretty cool.

“Another student printed off his own iPhone case. I said, ‘If you get your work done you can find something and print it off.’

“Within an hour and a half he had a new case for his phone.”

In time, Penney says students will start developing their own designs to print off.

“Right now we’re just looking at what can be done and the kids are starting to move towards designing their own things to print off,” he told Moose FM.

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“We like to encourage inquiry and we do a lot of experiential activities. It fits the curriculum and schooling is definitely past the days of simply book learning.

“Books are still a very important part of education but there are always different ways to learn things and show your knowledge.

“It’s actually magical.”

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