MU College of Education eMINTS National Center works with over 60 schools to provide 3D printers to construct face masks

$16 million grant enables students from local high school to produce face masks for health care workers using 3D printers.
College of Education supplies high schools with 3D printers and now they're using them to print masks and other PPE Heeral Patel

CORRECTION: We have updated the headline and sub-headline to reflect more accuracy.

MU College of Education eMINTS National Center has given Camdenton High School a $16 million grant to use 3D printers to build face masks for health care workers at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach, Missouri.

This grant project began in 2018, training middle school teachers to incorporate technology into their classrooms, which then grabbed the attention of the high school teachers to participate in the project. According to an MU News Bureau article, there were 27 middle schools throughout rural Missouri and Kansas who participated in the project.

Johannes Strobel, a College of Education professor, worked on this grant project to help teachers get acclimated to using 3D printers in the classrooms. According to the MU News Bureau article, Strobel worked with 16 3D printers at MU to prototype new designs of the face shields.

“We’ve been teaching proponents for project-based learning for so long,” Strobel said. “Now we see that in these types of real world challenges we can really make a difference and say,”This is why you learn skills and new things because they can prepare you for the future.’”

According to Strobel, the MU College of Education has a strong expertise area in science education and engineering education. Many of the faculty are cross-trained in science or engineering and education and aim to help teachers be better in the classroom.

“We wanted the students in school to not just experience technology as consumers,” Strobel said. “We wanted them really to learn how to produce, how to become active producers of technology.”

Strobel also added that by producing 3D objects and then printing them, they know 3D printers are also a form of technology in the culture today.

The MU College of Education has five academic departments, but also has eMINTS. eMINTS National Center is a center for conducting professional development to provide training for teachers, specifically in grades K-12. The training eMINTS specifically offers services in developmental programs to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom.

One thing Strobel got out of this project was seeing how the services done by the project assisted the health care workers. Specifically, he saw how the teachers can provide their local communities with equipment nurses and doctors need to perform their duties.

“I know there will be local rural communities now with their health care providers getting the equipment they need to survive,” Strobel said.

eMINTS program coordinator Michelle Kendrick worked with Strobel on this project to partner with the schools. Kendrick added more information on what eMINTS does for teachers.

“We train teachers around technology integration and ways of learning that prepare students for 21st-century skill development that prepare them for the modern world,” Kendrick said.

Kendrick said the project was recently approved for expansion by the FDA. There are 26 other schools that have 3D printers on-site, and eMINTS is providing information to them on how they can use their printers to provide items they need to help their community.

According to the MU News Bureau article, both Kendrick and Strobel are also developing curriculum for middle school teachers that highlight COVID-19 in relation to the impact on science, technology, as well as other things. By doing this, students are able to see how their work is aiding those being affected by the virus.

Kendrick also got something personally out of this project, specifically how the project integrates engineering designs into the curriculum.

“I think the opportunity to show students how STEM education and the things you do in STEM are applicable to [the students] in rural communities,” Kendrick said.

Edited by Alex Fulton | afulton@themaneater.com

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