STEMbassador Spotlight - "Value Added": 3D Printing Workshop for STEM Educators
Muhammad Najee-ullah, Founder and CEO, Pelican Fly Concepts, LLC
fullblaststeam.com (coming soon!)
Recently, I was accepted into the MOST Network STEMbassador Learning Community, and thus able to participate in the 3-D printing training for educators hosted at the Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore. The training in 3-D printing included a Printrbot brand 3-D printer, supplies and tools for the operation and maintenance of the printer, and a wealth of online and archived resources for understanding and applying the technology in the STEM learning processes of our young people. The experience was appreciated and enjoyed by all of the educators in the room, as best expressed by one of the participants at my table “Usually I’m sprinting out of training as soon as its finished….this is the only one in which I’m actually still here working after the class is over!”
I must say that I concur.
The training was both fun and extremely useful for the programming goals of my organization, Pelican Fly Concepts, LLC. Similar to the currently popular robotics competitions and tournaments, we intend to create a new genre of S.T.E.M. based team vs. team sporting events that uniquely merge physical activity with a gaming dynamic designed to gradually incorporate cool technologies as interactive features within the “life sized” physical gaming environment. Recently, we launched the “FullBlast STEAM” gaming platform and the “Design/Build/Compete Workshops” in collaboration with our partners the Juxtopia J.U.I.C.E. network and Sisters Saving The City to engage young people with S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) activities presented via an attractive and exciting series of workshops in which the participants design, build, and compete in a gaming tournament-styled product that the entire community can experience and benefit from.
As an out of school time program, the “Full Blast S.T.E.A.M. Design/Build/Compete Workshop” curriculum covers every aspect of our Gaming Events including overview of the game rules and team strategies, design of the game play and gaming mechanics, and the design and construction of an evolving list of physical game components. The lessons and resources provided in the STEMbassador 3-D printing workshop has enabled my development team and I to be better familiarized with the 3-D design and print process, and the developing culture around the technology, which has generated some great ideas on how to introduce the technology to our workshop participants in a manner that exercises their creativity and technical literacy, and enhances their enjoyment of the Full Blast S.T.E.A.M. game play!
We believe this is a great way to introduce the young people to the principles of 3-D printing in a focused context, guide them towards investigating other online resources on their own, and whet the appetite for further creative designing and printing in later parts of the workshop. The workshop participants brainstorm and create innovative 3-D designs and prints of a variety of gaming components and innovative enhancements to existing gaming features such as robot parts, player gear, and wearable technologies for players.
The MOST network’s STEMbassador learning community, and their support of our ambitions to add 3-D printing to our curriculum has definitely enhanced our ability to provide quality educational services that benefit the youth and communities of Baltimore Maryland, the DMV, and eventually the Country.
Thank you MOST & Digital Harbor!
Muhammad Najee-ullah is the Founder and CEO of Pelican Fly Concepts LLC, an education technology start-up and after school youth program service provider that merges the “maker” culture of hands on innovation with the physical activity of team vs. team sporting and the visually appealing, collaborative problem solving of video games.