Kids design toys and watch them being made with PieceMaker Technologies

[Carnegie Mellon University has become a haven for spin-off companies. I work with two – Birdbrain Technologies and Zulama. In this NEXTPittsburgh article you’ll discover a new, consumer direction for 3D printing – personalized toys and paraphernalia for youngsters (in age or at heart). ]

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Think of Arden Rosenblatt and Alejandro Sklar as the next best thing to elves at Santa’s workshop.

Through their innovation, youngsters can design a toy on a computer then watch it being manufactured on the spot.

Pittsburgh-based PieceMaker Technologies, the company that Carnegie Mellon University classmates Rosenblatt and Sklar founded in 2013, is delivering the capabilities of 3D printing to an appreciative customer base, with a couple of industry giants on board.

On the heels of a successful local venture with Toys “R” Us Inc., PieceMaker last month announced a partnership with Nickelodeon for on-the-spot manufacture of the likenesses of such favorites as Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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What Education Might Look Like in the Next 5 Years

[Each year the New Media Group with CoSN publishes the Horizon Report for K-12. The report gathers information from a variety of experts across the globe to look at trends and emerging technologies. Here’s a summary from Mindshift.]

In a fast-moving field like education technology, it’s worth taking a moment to take stock of new developments, persistent trends and the challenges to effective tech implementation in real classrooms. The NMC Horizon 2015 K-12 report offers a snapshot of where ed tech stands now and where it is likely to go in the next five years, according to 56 education and technology experts from 22 countries.

TRENDS

Deeper Learning: The expert panel identified several long-term trends that will greatly influence the adoption of technology in classrooms over the next five years and beyond. They see worldwide educators focusing on “deeper learning” outcomes that try to connect what happens in the classroom to experts and experiences beyond school as an important trend.

Teachers at the cutting edge of this work are asking students to use technology to access and synthesize information in the service of finding solutions to multifaceted, complex problems they might encounter in the real world. The popularity of project-based learning, global collaboration and integrated learning experiences is driving this trend and powerful tech use as an extension of it.

Rethinking Traditions: Educators are also rethinking how school has traditionally worked, questioning everything from school schedules, to how individual disciplines are taught and how success and creativity are measured. This macro trend to shake up typical ways of schooling is opening new opportunities for technology to play an even bigger role in education. Finland took a big step toward reimagining school when it did away with many traditional subjects in favor of interdisciplinary classes that more accurately reflect a world in which disciplines influence one another. Some U.S districts have also tried to reimagine how school would look with movements toward competency-based models that don’t rely on time in class as the constant variable.

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The Ed tech Trends on the Cusp of Mainstream

By Stephen Noonoo, eSchoolNewsEditor, @stephenoonoo
May 11th, 2015

Here’s a preview of K-12 Horizon Report notes big ed tech shifts from eSchoolNews. The final Horizon Report will be released at the ISTE Conference at the end of June.

This year, BYOD and makerspaces have their stars on the rise—they could be in 20 percent of classrooms by year’s end. And over the next few years, 3D printing, adaptive software, and even wearable technologies in schools could do the same, according to an advanced preview of this year’s K-12 Horizon Report, an annual trendsetting look at the current state of technology and learning produced by the New Media Consortium. Each year, the report confers with a panel of education experts and takes a close look at the trends, challenges, and underlying developments driving today’s education technology adoption and implementation.

The final product whittles dozens of emerging and established ed tech topics into just 18, arranged by category—the trends, challenges, and developments referenced above—and time to adoption (or, in the case of challenges, complexity of the problem and how close we are to solving it).

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