Increasing Classroom Access Using 3D Printing
We believe strongly that every student, no matter the age or ability, should be provided the opportunity to be and feel successful in school! For students with disabilities, the access they have to classroom instruction can, at times, be stifled by the one-size-fits-all classroom materials that simply do not account for their unique needs. Our team of undergraduate researchers and future teachers decided to embark on a journey of curiosity, seeking to understand: How can we utilize innovative 3D design and printing to create individualized assistive technology (AT) supports for students with disabilities?
Our primary purpose of the project? To increase daily access of high school students with disabilities to their school environment, their classroom materials, and their academic instruction. After all, shouldn't every high school student have the opportunity to independently swipe their own lunch card?
Our team worked with an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students across campus and two University faculty in order to 1) analyze current AT and academic tools in a high school self-contained special education classroom in Boise, 2) identify a need for enhancement, 3) design a prototype to meet this need for enhancement, and 4) actualize the prototype for distribution using 3D printing at the MakerLab on Boise State's campus.
Beyond the amazing tools we were able to provide these students and their teachers, our engagement in this project has better prepared us to enter our teaching profession. Through our work as undergraduate teacher researchers, we are able to take a leadership role in teaching same-aged peers studying professions outside of the field of education, sharing our expertise in the areas of AT and academic supports, and advocate for the considerations of a student’s disability and its impact on the student’s experience in the P12 classroom. As such, we as undergraduate teacher researchers are playing the role of teacher leader, advocate, and scholar-practitioner in our discussions with peers in other professions.
Our team was recently featured on Channel 6! Check out the story here.
OUR NEED (How you can help!)
We were ecstatic to learn that our research project was accepted for presentation at the national Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Annual Meeting in February 2020. We are humbled and appreciative of the opportunity to share our project with fellow teacher candidates and teacher educators across the country.
In order for our undergraduate teacher research team to travel to the conference to participate in this exciting opportunity, we will need to raise funds to accommodate for registration, lodging and travel expenses. We are seeking funding that will enable our team of 3 undergraduate researchers to travel from Boise, ID to Atlantic City, NJ to attend the 2020 ATE Conference from February 16th, 2020 to February 19th, 2020.
Your funding, in part or in whole, will enable us to attend this conference and represent Boise State University and the College of Education, sharing our work to education leaders throughout the country. We are honored and excited to share with this professional community of educators, advocating for innovative use of modern 3D printing technology to support students with significant disabilities, and rallying for a more pronounced opportunity for undergraduate students such as ourselves to engage in undergraduate research as professionals across fields.
*Any donation made is tax deductible and subject to a 4% processing fee.