Georgia Christian Prep School Launches Program To Teach Digital Product Engineering
In a move to integrate practical instruction in technological development with traditional college preparatory academics, Savannah Christian Preparatory School of Savannah, GA, has launched a rudimentary digital manufacturing course for high school students.
Taught by instructor David Small, who brings to the school a background in aeronautical engineering, the course employs DELMIA, a manufacturing software application used by professional engineers. The software, developed by Dassault Systemes, offers 3D visualization capabilities throughout the engineering process, including evaluation of "what-if" scenarios, operations optimization, and quality control to identify potential design flaws and control costs.
"The students are even more ambitious than the teachers to engage in new software usage and love the opportunity to be creative," said Small. "The class has been a huge success as students were able to leverage their math and science courses and develop critical thinking skills."
The course offers classroom instruction on practical concepts and techniques, idea conception, analysis, design, and actual production and assembly of components and usable products. In addition, the school has arranged visits by local corporations that use the DELMIA software in their operations, as well as Web conferences with the Dassault Systemes engineering team.
"This class gave me insight into the amount of work and the technology behind the simple products that we use every day," said one student who has taken the class. "There was a lot of collaboration with the other students in the class, and we were able to learn from each other through trial and error."
Building on the success of the high school class, SCPS is considering introducing similar coursework at the middle school level in the future. A spokesperson for Dassault said the company hopes the SCPS program will inspire similar programs in schools nationwide.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.