Recently, I was lucky enough to borrow a 3D printer from Catholic Education SA for a few weeks, and explore the big, wide world of 3D design and printing. I used the Tinkercad free online website – https://www.tinkercad.com/
It’s easy to use and kid-friendly. I did a few lessons in my own time, and then my learners signed up, and we got creating. One thing about kids and technology – they have no fear. Within a couple of lessons, they were creating weird and wonderful designs, and wanting me to print them all!
We agreed on a project, and the printer started printing. Then, I got a little over-excited, and expanded the program to include the rest of the school! That’s right, all 186 students had a go on the Tinkercad software, and at least half ended up with a small printing to take home.
What was the verdict? It was fantastic! The printer – slow as it was – became an instant drawcard during recess and lunch eating times. Students would take it in turns to sit in the chairs in front of the printer (not stepping a toe over the masking tape line on the floor!) and watching layer after layer print out.
The printings – while small – were a source of pride and a wonder to behold. We learnt so much about 3D shapes, measurement, ICT and manipulations. I can definitely recommend it, and a 3D printer has been added to my school technology wish-list!