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St. Raymond teacher wins national award

July 14, 2016
Valerie Schmalz

St. Raymond middle school mathematics and mechatronics teacher Kenneth Hawthorn was selected as one of 10 Dremel Idea Builder Ambassadors, a designation that awards the school a 3-D printer and 10 spools of filament to use.

As a Dremel Ambassador, Hawthorn will document and share on social media the classroom 3-D printing experiences throughout the 2016-17 school year, according to Dremel, a tool manufacturer.

Educators with or without experience using 3D printing technology were invited to apply for the opportunity to serve as advocates for invigorating STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) through “making,” Dremel said.

Starting in August, Hawthorn said he will be tweeting and sharing on social media his experiences in the classroom with the printer. For the past several years, Hawthorn, a retired mechanical engineer, has been leading a Maker-space and Mechatronics program in the middle school which he is expanding to the rest of the school in the coming year, he said. The school already has one 3D printer, he said.

By exposing middle school children to hands-on use of technology, and by giving them the opportunity to create, they are then able to go farther in high school and college – because they are comfortable with engineering, mathematics, and science, Hawthorn said.

A question Hawthorn says is very important for Catholic schools to address is the moral implications of science and technology discoveries and experiments, and that is incorporated into the curriculum at the Menlo Park Catholic elementary school. “I am working hard at St. Raymond to build out a program that will lead technology adoption in the classroom within a strong Catholic context on morality and serving humanity with these new tools,” Hawthorn said.

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