Baltimore BOOM! Academy: a vision for tech education in East Baltimore [VIDEO] - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 2, 2014 10:15 am

Baltimore BOOM! Academy: a vision for tech education in East Baltimore [VIDEO]

In the McElderry Park neighborhood, kids 18 to 20 are taking digital scans of keychains and ornaments they've designed and uploading those files to 3D-printing marketplace Shapeways.

Vincent Purcell giving his Ignite Baltimore 14 talk in March.

In the McElderry Park neighborhood, there’s something of an ecommerce cottage industry developing.

Kids 18 to 20 are taking digital scans of keychains and ornaments they’ve designed, uploading those files to 3D-printing marketplace Shapeways, and making money from the sales of the digital files that are selected to be printed in 3D by buyers browsing the Shapeways site. The wares are also being sold in stores on Baltimore’s Monument Street.

Baltimore BOOM! Academy, as described by cofounder and Maryland Institute College of Art graduate student Vincent Purcell at Ignite Baltimore 14, is “making information-economy careers, opportunities, [and] skills relevant” to one group of kids in East Baltimore. It’s no career itself, but the informal academy Purcell helps run in the neighborhood gets to the heart of a continuing debate regarding STEM education in the city: what set of technological skills should students be taught, and where should that tech training take place?

Watch Purcell’s Ignite Baltimore 14 talk:

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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