Design and Technology

Design

ASW Head of Design Adam Campbell

Adam Campbell, Head of Design

The ASW Design Center is the latest development on campus that reflects our school’s commitment to forward thinking and supporting students with a diverse set of abilities, interests, and learning styles. The purpose-built space includes collaborative work stations, high tech manufacturing tools, traditional workshop space, and is stocked with all kinds of materials that remove limits on what students are able to create.

Students are trained to use state of the art equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, programmable robots and Arduino microcontrollers. The type of learning happening in the Design Center is radically different than what you find in a traditional classroom environment. With the focus on problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, students are given design challenges that develop collaboration skills, innovation and persistence.

One of the goals of the Design Center is to encourage cross-curricular learning. Many of the creations in the center have underpinnings in science, math and art. Students are encouraged to explore concepts they are working on in other classes and watch them come alive through the design and manufacture of tangible products. We are beginning to connect design projects to ASW’s Service Learning initiatives, giving students the opportunity to understand how their designs can positively influence the local community.

Technology

ASW’s vision for digital learning is that technology is ubiquitous, seamless and embedded in teaching and learning.

We are preparing our students to be lifelong learners and to thrive in a dynamic global society. The integration of technology enables our students to communicate and collaborate, develop skills to critically seek and learn new information, and to create knowledge through the use of media-rich projects. In addition, we guide our students as they learn to effectively manage technology and become contributing digital citizens.

Students use an array of tech tools and resources. In early elementary our students are 1:1 with iPads in grades 1 and 2. Students in grades 3-12 are part of our 1:1 laptop program using assigned MacBook Airs, where students in grade 5 and up are permitted to take them home.

Technology Coaches support teachers and students in their learning across all grade levels.

Blog

ASW hosted the FLL CEESA Robotics tournament this weekend where 24 teams from ten different schools, including ISK, the International school of Kazan, competed for prestige in programming, building, and robot performance. ASW teams (the Warsaw Alliance of 5 teams) rankings were high (4th place for the Jedi), low, and in the middle going into elimination rounds and 3 of our teams made it to the edge of quarter finals. The excitement of the final rounds can still be felt in a wonderfully successful tournament where many future engineers got to show off their talents.

Listen to a podcast created by Middle School students who attended the tournament and learn more about the tournament, the games, the robots themselves, and the hosting experience.

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ASW Robotics team in Detroit

The ASW robotics team has returned from the FTC World Championship in Detroit, where they took 55th place out of 134 teams.

Working both together and with students from other school teams from around the world, many of whom offered advice and practical help during the competition, the ASW students were able to bounce back from challenges and obstacles, and make friends along the way.

Felix M stepped up and became an FTC student ambassador for the ASW team.

Shevy G and Jack K spearheaded efforts in the Fed Ex challenges.

Juwon P and Max T tirelessly coded and tweaked the mechanics of the robot during every minute of pit time.

Coach Miele comments: 'The team comes back in good spirits, more skilled, more knowledgeable, and eager to share and continue to develop the robotics program at the American School of Warsaw.'

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With daylight hours severely reduced in winter, ASW design students decided to give the community an uplifting surprise in the form of amazing light installations popping up around school! Here the designers talk about their creations.

An infinity mirror designed by ASW students

Infinity Mirror project - Andrea & Filip

Andrea and Filip worked together to create an optical illusion known as an infinity mirror. Their project is composed of a painted wooden frame, glass and LED tape. 'Making the frame was difficult - we worked through trial and error to get the infinity effect to work' said Filip. 'It would have had a bigger effect if it was smaller' said Andrea, but 'overall it is very eye-catching, especially in the dark' said Filip. 'The best part was plugging it in and… it worked!' said a smiling Andrea.

Light rings designed by ASW students

Light Rings - Jan

Jan created a series of illuminated rings of coloured light. He created 8 rings, each one slightly smaller than the next, from wood and LED tape, which he ordered himself from a supplier in Krakow. Each ring was placed 1 metre apart in order of size giving the impression, from one perspective, of looking into a tunnel of light. This was a fun, interactive installation that gave ASW students much joy as they encountered it in the hallway - 'I wanted the kids to have fun and be happy' said Jan.

Light tree designed by ASW students

Bendy Light Tree - Taylor

In the spirit of the holiday season, Taylor wanted to create a tree-style installation. She found a concept online and adapted it to her design, working it out through trial and error, explaining that 'in the end it looked better than I was expecting, which was a happy surprise'. Figuring out what would work within the budget was a challenge, as the design needed adapting as it took form. The tree is composed of a painted wooden base, with flexible pipes acting as the branches, each one supporting a single, color-changing LED light bulb. 'I wanted people to feel like they could interact with it, and to feel festive when they did' she said. As her first major project, she was very happy with the result.

Light cloud designed by ASW students

Light Cloud - Haruka

When Haruka saw a special lamp design at a 'Maker' festival, she liked the concept because it 'warms up the place.' Haruka's cloud is composed of a PVC pipe mesh, wired up with multi-coloured lights. She originally wanted the cloud to feature a pull string that could be pulled to change the colour of the lights but, since it was intended for the Elementary School, 'I realised it would be a safety hazard, so I adjusted the design' she explains. When the cloud was finished and installed above the ES entrance, the whole structure drooped downward 'an unexpected advantage, as it made it look more like a cloud' she said. Haruka makes small art projects at home, but this is her biggest project so far.

Interactive light board designed by ASW student

Interactive Light Board (on-going) - Aron
When he's not building electric go-karts at home, Aron is creating ASW's first interactive light board! Following a design he found on the website Instructables, Aron's light board is composed of three free-standing 2x1 metre wooden boards supporting a circuit of LED 'pixels'. Acquiring these pixels was a big challenge, according to Aron, who had to contact suppliers in Krakow and eventually China before he managed to find the right kind. He also enlisted the help of his friend's mom to bring him the correct 'pixel pusher' hardware - she kindly packed it into her luggage on a trip back to Poland from the US!

Eventually the light board will be wirelessly programmable using an iPad app, and users will be able to draw patterns with their finger that will then appear on the board. For the moment ‘we are stuck with the Pixel Pusher - it isn’t receiving the pixels from the iPad application’ said Aron. But as soon as that technical issue is resolved, the light board will be lighting up ASW's hallways for all to enjoy! 

Update: The light board is working! Check this video of it in action, and an interview with the designer: 

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A student photographs the hologram at ABB Robotics

Walking into ABB robotics today was like something out of science fiction movie. The students walked into an entry of a new facility and showroom and in the center of the entry room was a glass pyramid, inside which was a  holographic image of a robot. One of the products of ABB Robotics could be turned in all ways inside the pyramid for closer inspection.

 

A presentation at ABB Robotics

The tour was a wonderful educational experience in which students got a peek at robots and what a career in robotics could lead to. Many of the ABB robotic cells being developed were available for viewing and inspecting by our students. Robots that would palletize cases of products and many that would package products were running. In the end, students got to test and program demonstration models of the robots in a futuristic showroom. 

ASW students programme a robot at ABB Robotics

The students were attentive listeners, keen to learn and make the world their classroom. Maciej, our tour guide, was pleased with the students and welcomed another visit by ASW. Students will be answering questions showing their learning and reflecting on the trip.

Learn more about our Technology program

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