The students in my 3D Foundations course have been working in the woodshop for the last three weeks. They received woodshop training on each machine in the woodshop and then we tackled a 123D Make project using the 3D Scanner to create a self portrait. The students had their choice of slicing orientation and wood thickness and then we generated plans that could be transferred to their plywood.
I usually do this project in my Design for Digital Fabrication course but students utilize a laser cutter. I haven't received my laser cutter yet and I'm not teaching a course like my Design for Digital Fab course here at AppState yet, so I didn't originally plan on doing this project. The more I thought about it though I realized that Foundations is exactly where this project belongs and that there is no reason we can't incorporate the digital with a little analog woodshop training. The students have become so proficient with the tools and last class they started to see their self portraits taking shape as they dry fit all of the pieces.
I think this kind of integration of digital techniques is perfect. I've been doing this throughout the entire Foundations class. I hope I am able to develop a student that will be more comfortable jumping back and forth across the digital and physical making. I also get to use these tools to teach the basics of construction as well as design principles. I had a great conversation with Bryan a few weeks ago about this, and later in the week Chad and I discussed this integration as well. Both of these guys are doing similar things in their courses and so it's so cool to share what's working in our classes. So much fun to discuss things with these two and I'm so proud to hear them discuss what they feel is important to teach. Fun times!