“Our school district may be small, but technology has always played a big role in the education of our students,” award winning teacher Amanda Feterl proudly declares on her Indiegogo project page. Arlington, Minnesota is a small, rural town, about an hour south of Minneapolis. Most families there earn their living through agriculture, a tradition that has been passed through the generations. There are just over two thousand people in Arlington. Amanda’s school district, Sibley East, sees about a hundred high school seniors graduate each year. Technology was the priority when Amanda was first hired and art was seen as nothing more than a hobby. There was no art program in place at the time.
Amanda Feterl had two passions that stood out to her: creating art and working with young people. In high school, she realized that mixing the two was a logical step, so she did a double major in art and education in college. When Amanda graduated, she taught at the local high school for five years before she started teaching at the elementary school. Over next seven years, she worked at developing an effective, yet fun, program that would engage her students.
“I knew I had to do big things, so our program wouldn’t get (it’s budget) cut. I had to show that art is valuable to students and that it can be applied to other subjects and in other areas of their lives.” She developed several projects to engage her students. These include the Family Art Outreach, a popular monthy program for students and their families; a supply drive for disadvantaged students and an all night Art-A-Thon for the older students.
“The kids really like this one. During the spring semester, we spend a night at the school and work on different art projects, which the kids then sell at the school’s carnival,” It was hard work, but it paid off. Not only is the art program thriving, but Amanda herself has received recognition for her efforts. She was awarded Teacher of the District in 2012; the first Art Education teacher to receive such an honor. This year, she was named Minnesota Elementary Art Teacher of the Year and she was a finalist for Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year award.
When asked to describe her teaching philosophy, she said that she combines out of the box thinking with 21st century principles that can be applied to art and to students’ lives outside the classroom. So when Amanda saw a 3D Printer on the ‘Today Show’, she knew that it would be the perfect tool to teach her students. She did some research and decided that the Cubify Cube Printer would be best for her needs. It’s small, colorful and simple to use, but most importantly, it doesn’t need heat to actually print an object. There are 16 different colors available including metallics and glow in the dark cartridges. It also has its own software available from the manufacturer.
“It would be a really neat learning experience for the kids.”
She imagines the kids would be able to use their iPads to create their own sculptures, using the 123D Sculpt app, and then be able to print that object using the Cube.
“I think that it would be amazing for them to see something that they created just a few minutes before printed out before their eyes. They’d be able to take it home and show their parents. It would definitely inspire them and at this young age, it would encourage them to start dreaming and really let their imaginations take flight.”
You can find out more about Amanda’s project here. We wish Amanda Feterl and the kids at Sibley East Elementary all the best!
Happy (Imaginative) Printing!