Sunday, December 30, 2018

Learning with Laser Technology...

After hearing some success stories from my pal, Jon Jarc, about bringing laser technology to his students, I really, really wanted to jump on board. Jon was doing amazing work with his students, and in our brainstorming sessions, Jon and I talked about using laser curring for everything from topography to modeling and science art. To say that I was hooked, might be an understatement.

But, funding...

Funding, funding, funding...

This is the bane of my existence as a public school teacher. Funding just isn't easy to come by. Especially after hearing the price tag on some of these machines. Holy smokes!!!

So, I did a little research and came across a low budget machine (from Orion Motor Tech, similar to this model). I wrote a grant proposal called, Exploring Laser Cutting with Models, Topography, and More. I submitted my proposal to a local grant awarding agency and crossed my fingers. At this point, I still didn't know much...other than I really wanted to work with this tool.

A couple of months later, I received a notification that I was awarded the funding for this Laser Engraving Cutter machine and my journey of learning began!

My Community:

My pal, Josh Haplea (an amazing Art Educator in Huron City Schools), really got my project on its feet. He helped set up the machine, partnered up on research, provided materials to test and work with, and brainstormed uses for us. We spent time before and after school. We used weekend time. Youtube videos quickly became our best resource. Trial and error, we learned a little at a time. We are still not experts...but the occasional fires on the laser cutter do not cause as much panic as before. ;)

I also employed the learning support of my daughter who is a student at EHOVE Career Center and her teachers, Anthony Limberios and Noah Rasor. Through conversations, tutorials, and email support, I learned more about materials, laser strength, and project possibilities.

And, again...Jon Jarc continued to be an inspiration and guide for this learning. Watching his work on Instagram and constantly asking him questions about the tech, art, and methodology helped expand my learning process.

It's all about forming the community and just trying something new out!

Our work in @lacrossescience:

We are still at the beginning stages of our learning with the laser cutter. I expect in the next 18 weeks of school, we will have a big learning leap! I have two nine-week sessions called STEM Through Building that will allow for even more exploration with the laser cutter. I also have some students in each of my science classes that are ready to roll on utilizing the cutter.

We started with simple projects including:

  • Topography projects (traced images in Keynote, transferred to Corel, cut in cardboard medium) 

  • Character analysis (created images in Keynote, transferred to Corel, cut in cardboard medium) 
  • Earth Science mini-projects (images traced in Paper by 53 app, transferred to Corel, cut in bass wood) 

  • Stream Table medals (created in Keynote, transferred to Corel, cut in balsa wood) 
  • Martian badge projects (images original designed in Paper by 53 app, transferred to Corel, cut in balsa wood) 

  • Sea Glass Carving (Text created in Corel, cut into sea glass from Lake Erie) 
  • Crazy picture frame (Created in Corel, cut into wood picture frame)

Next up:
  • Layered Science- I will be asking students to create layered images that share science concepts. We will be using carboard as the main medium with colored paper mixed in. The use of Keynote to create the images will make it easy to design and transfer.
  • Storybook Project- I will be opening this project for students to create. It looks super amazing, and I think it will require a full nine weeks with many prototypes.
  • Shale Carving- I have no idea how this will work out, but I'd like to offer shale as a medium for students to carve in.
And more...

I think that this has such potential and cannot wait to explore with my students.


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