Saturday, March 5, 2016

All In A Day's Work

The 3D printer is becoming more accessible to the students as each day passes. Some students are comfortable with the process while others are still in the valley of the learning pit.

This is not a problem, in fact, it is something that we celebrate often - with all the learning that we engage in. Learning is all about taking risks, making mistakes, making connections, and having fun. Incorporating a design mindset and having the technology to bring ideas to life in our class provides the students with wonderful learning opportunities.

A great example of this is something that happened yesterday. During self selected reading time, one of my students read something - causing him to reflect on and create an idea that he had. 

He sketched out a picture of what he saw in his mind: Timothy the Toaster. A toaster with a top hat, moustache, and a monacle. 

After he drew it, he asked if he could grab a Chromebook and use the 3D software to try and replicate his drawing. I told him that would be ok - he would have to squeeze it into our day. He used his time wisely and it didn't take him too long to create Timothy using Tinkercad.

He had completed the "hard work". The students often tell me that printing their work is easy but that getting their ideas out of their heads and on to paper (or Google Drawings/Tinkercad) is the tough part. 

With only about an hour and a half left in the school day, he asked if we could print  Timothy the Toaster. We got things going, shrunk his design to be able to print it in an hour (his original design called for a 5 hour print job), and we were off to the races.

By the end of the day he had his Toaster rounded and was showing his classmates and talking about his ideas for a story that he would like to put together about the Toaster. I asked him what else he might do and he spoke of other characters that would be part of all of this.

With minutes left in our day I asked him about the process he followed around this particular activity. He told me how excited he was when he realized that he could make something that had never existed. He spoke about how much fun it was to manipulate the software to create what he had seen in his mind and drew on paper. 

I told him that I wanted to talk to him about this experience in greater depth after he had some time to think about what he had engaged in, his motivation, challenges he experienced, and his feelings after the fact. 

I look forward to hearing what he has to say, watching him formally share his thinking with his classmates, and seeing/hearing what they do next. 

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