On March 11, Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore was the lead organizer of the Tech Education Summit at SxSWedu in Austin, TX. We designed the event to bring together organizations doing exemplary work across the country to support innovative technology and maker education for youth. Each organization led a short “micro-workshop” featuring hands-on learning activities.
One organization that was invited to attend was a favorite of the Keynote speakers Lynda Weinman (founder and CEO of lynda.com) and Stephanie Santoso (Senior Advisor for Making – White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) was the Perryville Middle School Destination Imagination Team, who showcased their work in 3D printing. Here is what the youth had to share about their participation in the event, and how it sparked new questions about transforming education in the United States:
Cooper Wilcox, 8th grader: We were there to inform and teach people about 3D scanning. This is pretty much exactly what is sounds like. We can take a XBox Kinect camera and scan your body. Then we can process that video in an application to be able to create a 3D model of you and what you would look like in a video game. After that, we can export your file into another application and 3D print YOU! It was really great to show people what we have learned!
Alexandrea Koons, 8th grader: At the summit, we met Lynda Weinman, the founder of Lynda.com. She was so insightful about ways to improve the common school curriculum. Something that peaked my interest was when she talked about today’s girl youth population and how they don’t find school as fun as boys do. I find it very true and it really made me think of ways I can increase the love of school for girls in my school. Another person I met was Stephanie Santoso, the Senior Advisor on Making for the White House who gave the second keynote! She talked about entrepreneurship and really opened my eyes to new ways I can use imagination and creativity to develop ideas to help my community.
Vincent Gugliotta, 8th grader: SxSWedu Tech Summit made us think about ways that we could change our education system. I had personally thought that the best way to change the education system was to put up less emphasis on letter grades and more on smaller goals that children will want to strive to. This event had made us realize just how much it would benefit us all to have these ideas put into play, and how important it is that we have all these people willing to come out and explain ways to try and help learning become something fun and challenging.
In addition to participating in SxSWedu Tech Summit, the White House announced last week that the Perryville Middle School Destination Imagination Team received honorable mention in the White House Student Film Festival for their film “Pay It Forward” highlighting their 3D printing work.