“We are really excited to be part of the CREATE network and the opportunities this will bring to our students, staff and community. We are convinced this project will ensure our students benefit from the use of the latest technology and information and realise their aspirations in the industry/sector.”

The MCA (Manchester Communication Academy) is a mixed, non-selective school serving local children between the ages of 11-16. The school is situated in Harpurhey, Manchester and serves over a thousand pupils in the suburban area.

CREATE Education Hub leaders and members of staff at the MCA, Tom McCrory and Ryan Cretney have kindly shared some details about the Hub in their technology department, the advantages of 3D printing and how they develop their students learning experiences.

Tom McCrory and Ryan Cretney’s 3D printing journey began when the Hub leaders attended a 3D printing course, involving training in Autodesk inventor and printing on 3D printers.

The school have seven 3D printers in total, consisting of four Ultimakers (3 x Ultimaker 2 Go and 1 x Ultimaker 2+), two Makerbots and one Qbee, all located in the technology department. 3D printing is available to all students in the school, from 11-16 years of age.

Across the curriculum, the subject areas using this technology are product design, engineering, art, graphics and 3D printing. When asked how Ultimaker printers have impacted the results and learning outcomes within the school, they said that pupils have had the freedom to be as creative as possible and have had a physical product produced to reflect their design intentions. The school also offer 3D design at GCSE level, resulting in coursework produced to a higher level of both quality and achievement.

The school incorporate 3D printing across their GCSE spectrum and various other projects for example: radio projects, light projects, insect projects, reseal bag clips project, badge project, key ring projects and car prototypes. They also offer an after school club giving students access to all printers.

The MCA lead a network of 17 local primary schools and are currently in the process of introducing 3D printing to new students in the next academic year, through staff CPD and student engagement.

Tom McCrory and Ryan Cretney explained that the qualities required of a Hub leader are a knowledge and passion for the field of 3D printing and the ability to inspire both professionals and students to engage in the industry. The inspiration to become a CREATE Education Hub was the opportunity to share and engage with other schools and businesses around the country, and to showcase the work of their students.

The hub leaders commented that the school is committed to ensuring our students are best prepared for the world of work and in particular to acquire the skills and knowledge to access the very best jobs in growth industries. Therefore engaging in this project needed no convincing as they are sure this will benefit their students and support their aims for securing their future aspirations.

As the school used three other printers alongside four Ultimakers, when asked if there was a notable difference, the Hub leaders concluded that “the quality of finish is of a high standard compared to the other printers we have.”

The CREATE Education Project would like to thank Tom McCrory and Ryan Cretney, at MCA (Manchester Communication Academy) for sharing their projects and experiences with us.

In The Classroom

Designing a mobile phone stand is a great example of a product design project that engages students as it has a practical application that they can benefit from. Dorling Kindersley have kindly shared an example of this project with a step-by-step tutorial from their 3D Printing Projects book, which can be downloaded here.

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