Enriching Design Tech for the Future

Students in the technological design programme at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) will be able to expand their skills and project areas this year thanks to several brand-new equipment items.

“This year we were very fortunate to add a number of different pieces of equipment to aid in student fabrication of projects and innovation ideas,” says Christina Shin, technological design teacher at SMCS. “The popularity of our design technology programme has increased this year and this equipment supports students [and provides] the opportunity to work with a variety of different technology.”

SMCS students using the new 3D scanning camera, a new equipment item in technological design.

St. Michael's College School students using the new 3D scanning camera in their technological design class.

There are 160 students taking a technological design course this year, which is offered in Grades 10-12, up from 107 students in the previous year.

In the technological design courses offered at SMCS, students learn how to research, design, build, and assess solutions that meet specific human needs while also exploring career opportunities and related training. Students have the opportunity to work with wood-cutting and shaping equipment, laser cutters, 3D printers, and now even more equipment.

New equipment for the SMCS technological design programme in 2020

Some of the new equipment items recently added to the technological design programme at St. Michael's College School.

The programme welcomed the following new equipment pieces both purchased and generously donated by members of our SMCS community:

  • A fourth 3D printer - Allows students to design 3D objects in CAD (Computer Automated Design) software and then fabricate.
  • Shining 3D scanning camera - Allows students to make a model of an item (wood sculpture) and scan it into a digital file to allow for a CAD rendering and finally the 3D printing of that item.
  • Roland vinyl cutter - Allows students to print custom graphic logos and designs to be used on manufactured items (ex. skateboard projects).
  • Thermo vacuum former - Allows students to make quick, heat-molded items for easy prototyping and fabrication exploration.
  • Toolboxes and tools - Allows students to use tools for each class in a physically distanced setting. 

“Both programming and curriculum are able to introduce students to new ways of interacting with sophisticated machinery and add to their growing knowledge base of manufacturing and fabricating an item,” says Shin. “As each grade level progresses through the curriculum in technological design, this equipment allows students to expand on their ideas and skills, scaffolding from year to year.”

SMCS student using the new vinyl cutter, a new equipment item in technological design.

A St. Michael's College School student tries out the new vinyl cutter in his technological design class.

Last year, the topics of the final design technology projects included creating a car to test for speed and distance, redesigning the school with sustainability, access, and equity of innovation in mind, creating a device to help someone with a disability, and more. 

In addition, during the onset of the pandemic when personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply, three design technology students, with the help of Shin and two outside organizations, were able to assist in 3D printing face shield holders for front-line workers. All three of the school’s 3D printers were safely delivered to the students’ homes during the period when all schools were closed.

Now with the additional equipment, Shin lists several ways in which they can enrich and support her teaching on a regular basis.

“With Deep Learning inquiry and student voice and choice in learning and creation, this equipment supports many levels of learning,” says Shin. “As well, all the pieces of equipment help bring forth the tenets of the Engineering Design Process as a basis for creating.”

Learn more about the technological design courses offered at SMCS in our 2020-21 Course Calendar.