Emergent design with iPads and 3D printers

What do you get when you take 40 2nd grade students, show them a 3D printer in action, give them 10 iPads, a 3D modeling app, a theme, and 1 hour?

There is no 1:1 setup, no strict curriculum, no strict instructions. Just a 1 minute overview of a tool, and a theme of “sea creatures”. Then split the pupils into groups of 4 and see what happens:

  • peer tutoring
  • negotiation and conflict resolution
  • prototyping
  • going beyond the original assignment
  • spatial skill development
  • having fun

And, most importantly, like the CEO of CBtec commented, giving children a new experience that opens their view of the world, sparking their interest and shaping their future.

It’s important to design learning environments and processes, but there is such a thing as too much planning. Sometimes the best thing to do is just give learners the tools they need, an initial spark, and stay out of the way.

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