Colonial teams with Philadelphia’s NextFab to bring maker movement to district
Colonial School District embraces the maker movement by providing students with the innovative spaces, tools, technology and supplies needed to promote creativity. Library media centers at Colonial Middle School and Plymouth Whitemarsh High School offer creative makerspaces with 3D printers, conductive paint and LED lights. In the high school’s new Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation (EDI) department, students have access to more advanced tools and equipment to create working prototypes for engineering courses and can build designs created in computer-aided drafting class.
Before students can learn a piece of equipment, teachers must learn it first, and to bring teachers up to speed, Colonial became a member of Philadelphia-based NextFab. “NextFab is a makerspace,” said Melissa Guglielmo, NextFab location manager, “essentially what that means is that we provide access to more than just traditional tools such as bandsaws, table saws or welding. It also embraces the future of making, so what you’re seeing there is the incorporation of laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers — a lot of newer technologies that are being used to make the things around us.” As Colonial collects many of these same machines and tools for the makerspaces, the teachers head to NextFab for training. In addition to helping Colonial empower students through innovative makerspaces, the partnership with NextFab has also inspired a fine metals curriculum at the high school as well as a series of adult evening workshops.