Opinion: 3D Vermont Competition Teaches History, 21st Century Skills

28 March 2017

Every year at the 3D Vermont Competition, I learn something about Vermont that makes me think differently about who we are as a state and how we have changed. Last year, for example, I learned all about a Brownington schoolhouse that was just moved back to its original site by 44 oxen and a crowd twice the population of the town. Back in 1869, the town moved the schoolhouse so it would be closer to the population center of the town. Now, we use buses to move children to schools instead, and the schoolhouse returned to its original site. The lesson for the students, however, was how valuable a resource a schoolhouse was to the community—important enough to drag behind 44 oxen in order to bring it where it was needed.

This past Friday, the Vermont Agency of Education, in partnership with Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Division of Historic Preservation and Vermont Technical College (VTC) as well as a number of other state-level organizations, hosted the annual 3D Vermont Architecture and History Olympiad. Middle and high schools from across the state use this event as an opportunity to study the history and background of buildings in their communities and create digital 3D-printed scale models using SketchUP, a computer drafting and modeling software. The Olympiad showcases these models on a giant map, laid out on the Floor of Judd Hall at VTC. More importantly, the event highlights so much of what the AOE is proud of in our students and our schools.

The 3D Vermont event is the brainchild of history-turned-technology teacher Mike Hathorn from Hartford High School, who champions the event each year as a chance for students to engage with their communities while learning critical 21st century skills. It does all that and more. 

Read the full op-ed.

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