I just did a quick count of my student print folder, and I’ve printed out 180 unique student designs so far this school year! And that doesn’t include designs printed in multiple copies, or designs that were revised and reprinted. It certainly doesn’t count the designs I’ve made or printed for myself. From my memory, we only have about 180 students in grades 3-8. So we’re averaging about a print per student. Also, I only have two printers, so I’ve been pretty busy this year just doing the prints!
A couple things have really helped this program along. First, the teachers in 3-5 have started a point system, so that kids can turn in a certain number of points for “Tech Time with Thom.” Aside from great alliteration, this gives them some solid one-on-one tutorial time for design (the tech time doesn’t have to be on 3D design, but it just about always is). This has really jumpstarted some of the kids, because the first steps can be very frustrating and I’m good at helping them get past that frustration.
Also, kids who started learning Tinkercad last year are starting to do 3D printed designs for projects. The sophistication of these designs has taken a huge leap! These also help inspire others to start making.
There has also been more interest in the design challenges I post, I think because many kids just have no idea what to make. So far I’ve done an animal, a snowman, and a holiday ornament. I think the more specific it is, the better the response – the snowman has been best so far in terms of response.
At some point, I may need a more formal system for teaching design and for printing designs. But for right now, I think we’re succeeding fantastically!