The All Course Network (ACN), a statewide course catalog that lets students take free courses at colleges, schools, or online, is being offered at the FabLab in Newport. This fall we have 4 courses running in collaboration with the ACN, with a total of 34 students working in the lab weekly through December 14.
On Thursdays, FabNewport’s Director of Instruction Josie Michaud and others coach six learners through building their own 3D printers. These students learn to create original designs in CAD software and then print them on their machines. At the end of the course, the students will take their 3D printers home to continue inventing, designing, and building throughout the year.
“When you build your own 3D printer, this seemingly complex machine becomes demystified. In addition, you gain practical experience with hand tools, boosting your confidence and independence. We’re very lucky to have Nate with us, an IRYS graduate and 3D printing aficionado, who is showing us more advanced techniques, like repair, maintenance, and customization.“
“For example, we pulled apart our machines and added 3D printed drawers to the base, which not only helps us organize our tools, but makes the printer more stable. This kind of customization is like the difference between a beginner musician playing sheet music note for note compared to remixing like a seasoned jazz musician. Hopefully, learners will internalize the deeper idea that, no matter the medium, once you understand how something works, you can redesign and remake to better suit your needs. You don’t always have to follow the plans exactly and you can rely on your own self to make it happen.”
– Josie Michaud
Enriching experiences with supplemental coursework help students get a head start on postsecondary success, master the skills required of a lifelong learner, and be prepared for jobs in sectors critical to Rhode Island’s future prosperity. The All Course Network is designed to help districts and schools meet this need by creating opportunities for Rhode Island students to envision, pursue, and realize their individualized graduation pathway outside of the traditional school day.