e-NABLING The Future: Part 2 (The Media)

Last week my class became famous ... well at least a little famous. For the better part of a month and a half we have been working with the e-NABLE Project to 3D print and assemble prosthetic hands for children in North Carolina, Ohio, and California. I'm sure that in the future I will spend more time writing about the glorious learning experience that has been this project, but for now I would just like to talk about last Monday.

When e-NABLING the future initially matched my class with children in need of hands, they let us know that one of the recipients lived just down the road in Raleigh. e-NABLING mentioned the possibility of my class meeting one of the recipient's, but was not sure whether or not it would happen. Through the first two weeks of the project Sofia and Toni emailed back and forth with Matthew and his Mother. Both sides were working to get to know one another; To put a face and a story behind all of the work that was being done. As everyone involved became comfortable with the partnership the question began to grow as to whether or not Matthew and his family might be able to visit class to see his hand in process. Sofia, Toni, and I thought that this was a fantastic idea and got to work putting together the details for the visit of the DiFrancesco family. Not only would Matthew be coming, but we would also be hosting his mom, dad, brother, and sister.

Though Matthew and his family had been working specifically with Sofia and Toni, I wanted the entire class to have a part in his visit. So, as a class we did some brainstorming around how the day should go and ultimately came up with a plan that included a presentation about the class, a presentation about the project, five stations that walked the family through the process of building the hand, and a tour of the school. Everything was planned such that the class had complete control of the day. I was merely there to make introductions and ensure that everything went along as planned.

Oh yeah ... I also may have said something to the DPS media liason.

So, on the first day of election week and in a city that was grappling with the possibility of an Ebola patient at the hospital all four news stations and both newspapers crowded into my classroom. The DiFrancesco family and my students were rightfully shocked, but soldiered on masterfully. Nervous students eloquently presented in front of rolling news cameras and Matthew spoke word after word of inspiration to reporter after reporter. The day was overwhelming to say the least, but I think that it was a great experience for all involved. Matthew's story has grown legs and my students swell with well-earned pride when they see themselves on the news.

In a couple of weeks we hope to once again host the DiFrancesco family as they join our class for the unveiling of the hand. Who knows ... maybe I'll say something to the media liason again.

For the curious reader/viewer, here are the best news stories:

News and Observer
Herald Sun Article
Herald Sun Grit Award
Time Warner Cable

In addition, I obviously need to make some space for our weekly reporters. Truthfully these reports were written a couple of weeks ago, but the provide some insight into the weeks leading up to the visit of Matthew and his family.

Levelle Begins:

As the weekly reporter I’m here to inform you of what has been done this week, and what I’ve found to be interesting. During the week of 10/20 all groups have been working on the e-NABLE project. We have been contacting our children and their parents to inform them of what we’re doing. This week I’ve found the Makerbot software very interesting. It caught my interest, because I’m learning new technology. I've learned software that can do measurements of an online image, and how to setup a build plate on the Makerbot software. This helps each group with making their hand for their assigned child, and making sure the hand is accurate. That is all I have to inform you of this week’s progress.

Jamie Concludes:

Interesting things we’ve done this week in class would be actually starting to print our hands. We also learned that one of the recipients would be in arrival on Monday with his family.So, with that great news we then learned that the media will also be in attendance that day. Also,we discussed what the project has taught us so far and we’ve kept in contact with the families. Overall, we continued to get the layout prepared in Makerware to get the hand parts prepared for printing. Preparing for the arrival of Matthews is also what we did this week.Since Matthews arrival is exciting we decided to break up into groups and have stations available for him and his family. Therefore, that’s what we also worked on the later part of the week.