Easy as 1, 2, 3-D: educators take printing to a new dimension

This week, 15 educators—from elementary to high school teachers, library and technology specialists and a local Girl Scout STEM specialist—gathered in the Texas A&M Engineering Innovation Center to learn how to make designs created in engineering software come to life at the “Easy as 1, 2, 3-D Print Workshop.” PreK-12 Engineering Education Outreach, part of the Texas A&M College of Engineering and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, created the weeklong workshop experience to equip educators with the technical and CAD software design skills necessary to teach others how to incorporate 3-D printing into their learning environments.


Fourteen years ago, Brenda Matthews worked in the computer labs of Barrow Elementary School in Brazoria, Texas, showing 

students how to use technology. “While at Barrow Elementary, I saw a tremendous need to become an educational technology teacher,” said Matthews. “That led me to teaching technology briefly at Columbia High School while training teachers on technology integration.” 

Today, Matthews is the director of student and staff services at Columbia-Brazoria ISD (CBISD) where she is responsible for instructional technology, educational technology, professional development and K-12 technology applications.

“We received a grant from Phillips 66 and were asked if we’d like 3-D printers,” said Matthews. “We responded with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes!’”

Matthews is excited to bring the skills she learned during the workshop into the CBISD learning environments where each campus will be equipped with 3-D printers, a laptop and iPad minis.

3D Printing

Sofia D’arcy, a library services specialist with Houston ISD (HISD) who supervises 125 of the 250 HISD library staff, is also excited about the endless possibilities 3-D printing will bring to the HISD libraries.

“I can imagine scenarios where students are able to 3-D print a book’s characters or objects, or they can create visual alternate endings to the stories. What the students envision can become reality by incorporating the engineering and technical skills 3-D printing requires,” said D’arcy. “3-D printing brings reading to life.”

The “Easy as 1, 2, 3-D Print Workshop” concludes Friday, July 29 with participant presentations showcasing the 3-D printing projects from the week and highlighting the lessons learned during the workshop.