Always Be Hustling – FormLabs Edition

Anyone that follows me on social media is probably well aware that my Hidden Figures – Friendship 7 model is up for Top Educational Model in FormLabs 3D Design Awards powered by Pinshape. (Vote for my design here!) I’ve been asking for votes on Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Google+, Google Groups, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Some of my maker friends complain that I spend too much bandwidth ‘begging’ for free stuff. There is truth to that criticism because it is the reality for educators that want to introduce students to a new mode of learning that requires a lot of stuff.

Maker educators are always looking for resources: time, space, tools, equipment, consumables and mind share. You have to ask for all the things that you need. A friend once told me, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

Maker educators need to always be hustling. Hustling means applying for grants and prizes, entering contests, asking for donations, promoting student work on social media, tagging hardware/software companies in posts, creating partnerships and applying for awards and recognitions (like the FabLearn Fellows). This type of hustle can mean cash and equipment for your maker program but can also mean better support from vendors or more leeway from school administrators.

Applying for grants, awards and contests can be time consuming but are worth the pay off. The FormLabs 3D Design Awards is a good example. I’ve been interested in the FormLabs resin 3D printer since I first saw it as a member of the Make digital fabrication review team. I want to explore the possibilities of a high resolution resin 3D printer in an education setting so am always on the look out for FormLabs contests. This contest doesn’t have a 3D printer as a prize but winning could help establish a connection that might lead to something in the future.

The prizes for the Top Educational Model would expand the capabilities of my maker programs. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 16″ could be a great way for students to create digital designs by drawing directly on the screen. Right now I use a much longer workflow having student hand draw a design, take a photo, vectorize the photo and then bring into the 3D design software. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 16″ would simplify the process. I’ve tried using the Wacom Bamboo tablet but students have trouble using an input device that is separate from the screen. The Adafruit gift certificate would purchase a few Circuit Playground Express boards which can be programmed using a Chromebook which would greatly increase classroom access.

A resin 3D printer, a drawing tablet and a new circuit board are things I want to experiment with, to explore the possibilities for use in the classroom, to see how students interact with them. These are things that I can’t justify spending my limited makerspace resources on right now but they are worth my time to apply and try to win them. So apologies to my friends and followers on social media for the spam but to the maker educators out there, Always Be Hustling.

P.S. Seriously, I could use your vote for my Hidden Figures – Friendship 7 design. Vote for it here!