Reporters descended on Buford Middle School in Charlottesville on Monday, prompted by the recent announcement of a new Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and the visit of a news team from Nippon Television in Japan.
After hearing President Obama’s State of the Union address, the NTV news team, based in the broadcaster’s New York City Bureau, wanted to report on a U.S. school where students are using 3D printing technology.
Obama said in his address that “3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything” and later proposed a “new challenge to redesign America’s high schools” to prepare students for high-tech jobs. “We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math,” he said.
Reporter Takashi Yanagisawa explained that in Japan, as in most U.S. schools, students are not using 3D printers in the classroom. “We wanted to know how students will learn from this technology and how students will think about this technology,” he said. “Students are really enjoying it. They are saying they want to make things when they have their own printers.”
In the Buford classroom that was the center of attention for an hour and a half on Monday morning, students learned about sound waves by designing working speakers and printing out the parts with a 3D printer and a 2D die cutter. They then tested the quality of their homemade speakers by measuring tones with a sound level meter.
The NTV reporters read about the Curry School’s lab school project in a recent New York Times blog, where Professor Glen Bull was quoted. Bull is co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education and the principal investigator on a $300,000 lab school planning grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The visit from international reporters drew the attention of local news media, as well. The Daily Progress, NBC29, and CBS19 all sent reporters to cover the event.
Read the Daily Progress article about the event published online March 11.
Story and photos by Lynn Bell