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In 2006, I made a personally uncharacteristic decision, leaving family, friends and the comfort of my home state of Colorado, all I had known for 40 years, to pursue an opportunity to teach, learn and ply my skills in an international school. I entered FIS as a teacher in our 21st century Design Technology department. During my two years as a teacher, I introduced a robotics curriculum to middle and upper school students, provided installation and support for our Autodesk client server Inventor (CAD) and 3dsMax9 (animation) software environment.
I entered Frankfurt International School as a teacher in our 21st century Design Technology department. I taught students in Grades 6 - 9. During my two years as a teacher, I developed and introduced a Systems & Control (using robotics and 3d modeling) curriculum to middle and upper school students, provided installation and support for our Autodesk client server Inventor (CAD) and 3dsMax9 (3d modeling and animation) software environment and had LOTS OF FUN!!
How are design software applications different than applications or services you regularly use on computers?
How does design impact your daily life?
How did the field of designing evolve in the 20th century and what role does design have in the 21st century?
How has technology been integrated into design?
What influences design?
What role do 3d modeling tools have in the process of design?
How can Web 2.0 applications support the design process?
How do the studies of mathematics and science support the field of design?
How is design integrated with technology to augment reality (physical world and human capacity)?
If you are asking yourself the question "Why teach Design Technology?", check out these websites, they should help provide an answer:
Electrolux Design Lab Competition
Inhabitat: Green Design Will Save The World
Autodesk Student Design Competitions
AskNature.org: Biomimicry Institute
Biologists At The Design Table:
During my 1st year students developed 'BOTS' to perform defined tasks of their choosing. The tasks were simple using circuit boards with timing control logic 2 inputs and 4 outputs. They designed their 'BOTS' using the Autodesk Inventor 3D design tool, exported to a 2D image and then printed the final design on our precision
Trotec Laser cutter
. Afterwards they mounted their motors, sensors, wheels and logic board, programmed the unit and set it out to perform the task. The HillClimberBot was designed to climb a slope, which the students had to calculate and include the formula and results in their final report. The SoccerBot was designed to carry a ball and release it for a goal, designers had to explain positioning of the goal and the timing to release the ball. Autodesk Inventor was the backbone to our efforts in the Design Technology department and it was my responsibility to maintain the license server and the client installs. I am an avid supporter of the Autodesk Education Community and have been a member since my first days as a Design Technology teacher. Check out Education Community website at:
During the 2007-2008 school year, my students and I ventured into building more sophisticated 'BOTS'. We purchased the PICAXE 18 and 28 microcontroller project boards (
). These proved to be most durable and easy to program. Within a few hours (2 or 3 class periods) students were writing basic programs to control the inputs and outputs, demonstrating their systems and control abilities. The task definitions increased in complexity with the "BOTS" expected to respond to environmental conditions. This was a struggle for most students and many did not fully complete their projects, but all achieved the minimum expectation and we had lots of fun. The movie below shows four types of projects with the last "BOT" being the most sophisticated one designed, assembled and programmed entirely by a single 9th grade student.
Robotics - System & Control Web Links
Robomind: Virtual Robotics Programming
LEGO Robolab: Programming for RCX bricks
Microsoft Robotics Developer Kit
University of Southern California - K-12 Robotics
UK Systems & Control Principles Resource
Flowol - Flowcharting & Mimicing Software
Robotic Magazine ONLINE
Classroom Robotics Blog
Computer Aided Design & 3D Modeling Web Links
Autodesk 3Ds Max 9
(Great for Elementary and Middle School Students)
(Online Development Tool, no download needed)
Autodesk For the Mac
(Products and recommendations for Mac users)
Solidworks - 3D CAD Design
help on how to format text
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