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Bring back shop class and rename it design class, improved with MakerBots

Liz Danzico

Chris Anderson in Wired about MakerBot's announcements this week:

High schools would be smart to bring back shop class but rename it design class, a shift that really would entail just adding a few MakerBots to the school’s existing computer labs. How many students wouldn’t rather design and print real things than mock up yet another PowerPoint presentation?

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  • Adam Brotman

    I really like the idea of reincarnating shop class as "design class" - but I'm not sure I would limit it to projects involving 3D printing. Today's students will need to learn to lead, think and grow in such a different way than we were taught in the 70s and 80s. I feel it's going to be important to teach kids the concept of how being creative can be infused throughout everything you may want to be good at in the future - whether it be designing a curriculum as a teacher, designing a company as a CEO, designing a product, UX design, etc. 3D printing could be a part of that (the new shop class literally) - but I'm more intrigued with the notion of an overall "design class" as a pivot in terms of what a new "trade curriculum" within school.

  • Tara Tiger Brown

    I wrote a post on Forbes about how losing shop classes in schools is detrimental to the US economy. Teachers can no longer be certified in shop and so we now have dormant shop classes in our schools because we don't have enough certified teachers. Santa Monica HS is using its shop class for storage. What a waste.

    • amberpnichols

      Get on craigslist .... if you aren't INSISTENT that they have some credential - there are so many wonderful people who are out of work who would likely love to share their craft. No, the gov and the system won't solve it for you! or solve it for our kids! we have to value people with these skills and we have to go and find them - as they have been discarded! This is important that we model the importance of skilled labor !

    • Liz Dwyer

      I think I remember reading that. What do you think it'll take to get shop classes back?

  • Annemarie Harris

    I think that a MakerBot should be in every classroom, after school program, summer camp, etc...

  • rtb1961

    The principle behind shop class was to get young fellows hand around the house. More sense to combine home maker class and shop class, into one new class. Caring for yourself and your dwelling class.
    How to select and cook healthy foods, washing and ironing, replacing door locks, simple car maintenance, simple computer maintenance, simple carpentry, simple painting and, selection of use household appliances.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Yes! This would be so great. I wish I'd had this class in school.

  • Liz Danzico

    Would be interesting to brainstorm a list of (current or lost) high school classes with potential to rebrand. Interestingly, the history of some of these courses seems particularly relevant today, albeit with a changed definition of "technology: "...[home ec] meetings were dedicated to finding ways to apply the latest in science and technology to improve life in the American home."

    • Liz Dwyer

      That's a great point, Liz. I certainly wish home ec were taught in any capacity, but an updated one taking it's cues from the Maker movement is a genius idea.

  • Ewan Anderson

    This would be amazing because it would involve a combination of engineering and 3D modeling skills before anything could be printed.

  • Anna Silverman

    A lot of extra-curricular classes could be rebranded. Home Ec -> DIY workshop?

    • Joshua Neuman

      Geez, do they still have Home Ec? Do they still teach kids to cook with Crisco?