Burnsville HS Fab Lab gives students a career jump start

- A Minnesota school district is using innovative technology to give kids an education that will jump start their careers. District 191 recently passed a $52 million referendum, which includes about $25 million earmarked for technology.

Burnsville High School built nearly 40 more classrooms and made a fabrication room or "Fab Lab." There are 10 brand new 3-D printers, plus 2,760 Chromebooks were given to students.

Livia Selby is a freshman who loves printing on the 3-D machines.  She's wanted to be an engineer since she was a kid and prints anything she can on the machines.

Fab Lab teacher Orion Patrie is making education come to life.

"The students are actually able to produce 3-D objects online anywhere they are able to have internet access," Patrie said. "They can bring them to class and we can do what we need to with it.  We can cut it out , 3-D print it, mill it. It's kind of amazing really when you think about it."

The students have programmed robots with motors and sensors. The design key chains in the computer and print them with laser printers. Also, a special wood cutting machine has students engineering the dimensions of wood, then the machine does all the work.

"It will not be long before our lives are run by drones and 3-D printers and it probably won't be long before everyone will have a 3-D printer in their house," Patrie said. "They need to have people that know how to fix them and run them."

Principal Dave Helke is proud of these students working in the new activities and commons area. They also helped design the open work spaces that resemble Google's real work environment.

"The idea is to have creative, more active learning environments," Helke said. "It is truly about helping students identify what they want to do, but also helping meet the work force needs that are out there."

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