On October 29, 2019, over 40 teachers from Delran Township Schools participated in the first installment of the Teacher Professional Development Series in the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab. The first event was a Vinyl Decal Workshop. In collaboration with the Delran Education Association, who provided refreshments, teachers were encouraged to “green” the event by bringing their own refillable water bottles.
In preparation for the workshop, teachers were asked to measure the area where they planned to install their creation. Since for many staff, this was their first time working in Corel Draw and using a vinyl cutting machine, Fab Lab Coordinator, Mary Jo Hutchinson asked the teachers to “keep it simple for best results”.
Teachers learned to open a project, create text, and use tools in Corel Draw to import an image and trace its bitmap. Fab Lab Managers, Shaun DeLoche and Paul Maraldo, coached their colleagues as they worked on their designs, and demonstrated how to use the vinyl cutting machine. "We want to make teachers feel that the Lab is not an overwhelming space that requires a lot of technical knowledge. There's a lot you can do just learning the basics, and starting to think about ways to get students involved," DeLoche explained.
Student STEM Ambassadors were on hand to help their teachers learn something new! In addition to helping teachers learn the design software, STEM Ambassadors were instrumental in helping teachers learn the hands-on techniques of weeding their vinyl decals after they were cut by the machine, as well as how to apply and use transfer tape to install their decals.
STEM Ambassador senior Abbe Stiglich shared, “It was a great experience assisting the teachers. They caught on really quick. We had a few trial and errors but the final products looked great! Making mistakes is the best way to learn!”
Brooke Wachter, also a senior and a STEM Ambassador added, "As an aspiring teacher, it was incredible to instruct teachers in the district how to use the vinyl cutter. While speaking with them, we discussed how they can implement these types of tools into their classes and the different types of things students could create."
Teachers from Millbridge, DIS, DMS, and DHS show off their hard work!
The Teacher Professional Development Series will continue throughout the 2019-2020 school year, with additional events planned for December, February, and April. We look forward to welcoming many more Delran teachers as they learn in the lab!