Our school received a $10,000 DigiTech startup grant through Digital Technologies, Department of Education. The main focus was to look at introducing robotics into the classroom and being able to roll out the new Digital Technologies curriculum. I wanted some equipment that might be fun and reasonably easy to embrace as well.
David Deeds, an online colleague who is Director of Information and Learning Technologies for Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt. Egypt shared photos of his class working with 3D pens on Facebook. He is always at the cutting edge of technology and its use in the classroom. As I wanted something fun for students to work with, we added the purchase of pens to our shopping list. David was emailed to get his recommendations for which pens would be best to use.
Following is his reply:
There are lots of knockoffs 3D pens these days. I maintain that 3Doodlers are still the best, even though they might cost a few dollars more.You can get them direct from the 3Doodler website, from Amazon, etc.How long will they last? Well…that depends on the quality. I know folks I bought them for in Mexico three years ago are still using them.3D pens allow kids to create 3D art. Beyond Art class, kids could create 3D models of atoms or whatever.They’re a lot of fun…kids go crazy with them…that’s enough for me. 😉
- I had no idea how to use them. Should I sit down and work out how before students used them? Are there safety measures required.
- Our art/technology teacher is very wary of all this new technology, fearing that it takes away student creativity.
- one of my year 10 DigiTech students, Emily, was really keen to use them when I showed the class. She took it on herself to research how to use it, found some patterns to try and get started with, printed them off and brought them to me.
- The pattern sheet was laid on the table top, the plastic threaded through the pen and the design was traced around using the pen.
As I have done so many times over my long teaching career, I decided to jump in the deep end and let the students play, teach me how to use them and we collaboratively learn together. Emily brought the printed sheets to class period 1. I said that I preferred she design something first rather than downloading an existing pattern, but she felt it was a simple way to start and that she could simply concentrate on learning how to operate the pen. Her first attempt was rather rustic but on her second go, she started to perfect the technique, causing a lot of interest from fellow students. Following is a movie to see how it looked.
Emily also worked out the technique to join 2 pieces of 3D printout together eg in making the Eiffel Tower. It was made in 2 parts, then joined to create the 3D object. Emily said this was quite difficult to do.
Once students have learnt the basic use, following are some ideas of things that they could now design and create:
- smaller colourful glasses
- key rings
- balls etc
I would like them to use the pen to build the complete 3D image rather than put flat pieces together.
Have you used the 3D pen printing technology? What suggestions do you have?