Thursday, August 13, 2015

Endless Possibilities: 3D Printing Technology

One of the things I have been working on this summer involves reading about and connecting with people who have experience using 3D printing technology in schools. *My students and I will be on a wonderful journey this year to harness the power of 3D printing in the classroom to bring our ideas to life. My hope is that we will evolve as learners in a way that will allow us to transition our thoughts/ideas in a way that will facilitate the design and creation of tangible products that represent/demonstrate our learning.

The photo above is the printer that we are going to be working with in the classroom. Photo from

This is all new to me and that is why I am taking the time to educate myself as much as I can before I get my hands on the technology. Today I was part of a webinar put on by MakerBot, the company of the printer that we will have in our classroom.

The webinar "MakerBot in the Classroom", provided me with an opportunity to hear about the ways that the technology has been used in classrooms and provided 'grist for the mill' as I reflect on how it would be used in my classroom. The webinar started with some basics, including visuals, which is very important to me. I learn best when I can see examples of what a presenter is talking about.

The presenters talked about a 3D 'kit' which is essentially 3D printed items to be used as examples. I really liked this portion of the webinar because they had examples of designs that didn't quite print as expected due to extraneous factors. This piqued my interest because of the learning component. You design something but it doesn't print as perfectly as expected. Look it over and see where things didn't work out and then think about and create a solution - great iteration model - which is something I try and build into the culture of my classroom.

Information about different design software was also presented and examples of what software would work best in terms of meeting curriculum needs (e.g. art vs math). These are things I haven't even thought of so it was great to be exposed to it.

Overall, this was a great way to sink my teeth into the world of 3D printing with respect to the actual printer I will have in our classroom. I'm already looking forward to the reflection I will engage in after this blog post in order to formulate some questions to assist with my understanding.


* This project is being funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education - Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP).