Reflection for EDET678 Week 7: How can 3D Printing Change the Way We Think About Education?

Aleta May

Reflection for EDET678 Week 7: How can 3D Printing Change the Way We Think About Education?

At first it seemed somewhat amazing to imply at all that 3D printing could change the way we think about education since there are so many new “next generation” ideas and ways educators are supposed to be considering and changing simultaneously. It seems like our practice is so far behind the research in so many areas, that 3D Printing is just one more item on the docket! Yet, I have to consider it together with constructivism thinking (learning together and building on what we and our students already know). Constructionism is actually producing a product from computer software from 3D printers or coding to make a created thing function in different ways.

These are points I thought more deeply about—than even the thought of what does a 3D printer do; though this concept was new to me. This week, I learned more about how this printer fits in with the whole makerspace idea. More importantly, I searched to have a truly deeper understanding of the design process in the mind, plays out through computer software, with an end product that makes that thing a device that the student may use to demonstrate / communicate with. More than a picture is worth 1,000 words; a 3 dimensional product that rises up from the paper is a visual, a manipulative and requires such deep thinking to produce, that this cannot be put into words at all.

Below are blog posts I sent and a reply back to one response.

I sent Douglas a Twitter message:

@douglasw810 Hi Douglas — Week 7 reply from Aleta:


Week 7

The way we use 3D printers to teach has everything to do with using these tools as another approach for accessing what our students are visualizing. To extract the vision of our students, we must first bridge over to note whether they are seeing something completely different from the perspective of experiences in their own lives. Rather than seeing this as erroneous or inaccurate, is what they are seeing some application that we had not considered from our own life experiences than what we are seeing now? Wouldn’t a 3D printer help us to behold an outward expression of what they are trying to teach us? As I think about the schemata that our students carry with them—sometimes I laugh at how what I am teaching is construed in their minds. Are we not actively involved in a two way learning process, learning from each other’s attempts to produce an item, scene or artifact to communicate how we perceive that?

Making something to express part of learning is also a process. The Computer Assisted Design (CAD) connects making to skills students will need as they reach out to the current career world. The more they use software to draw a design that is in their mind and actually use this to make something, the easier it will be to use similar software in the future when faced with this on the job.


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JULY 5, 2016 @ 7:36 PM

I agree with your statement. I would be great to get an idea of what they are learning in order to see exactly what they are thinking and to find areas of misunderstanding. This is a way that I think 3D printers will excel at in the future.



.JULY 5, 2016 @ 7:52 PM 
Thank you Douglas

Josie,Week 7

@Jjleach757Leach Hi Josie, I tried to send a reply for Week 7 in Emerg. Tech. It did not appear to go thru, so u may have multiple posts.

What a great way to use 3D printers for elementary students! Using different colors to teach the way word parts blend, to create word families and to label play areas in a Kindergarten room. Math comparisons and concepts come alive with manipulative items. We would no longer be limited to what the manufacturers create for us. We could make measuring devices, meaningful to the student items for categorizing, then using these for gifting. For example, categorizing animals or sea life from the area that students made, use them to study math with, then pass them to the next class or trade with another school.



@brianavatar Hi Brian, here is a week 7 comment I made on your blog:

As I read what you said about it being messy at first to create cubes, I thought about how many times we think students are “just playing around, or not being serious.” My own analogy for me is that in learning to crochet or play a musical instrument, this is part of the process. We even had warm up times in band back in junior high school. I suppose the main differences in school is the use of time and filament for the copier as resources being limited.

As I watch the video clip, which is awesome by the way, I wondered how to get this drawing design from the paper to the 3D printer. I could lean math so much easier this way!

The 3D printed manipulative helps to better understand the Parabola and slope (increasing and decreasing). How the B co-efficient is a slope of a coefficient that pushes the parabola up and down and affects the graph of the c-efficient.

y=ax2 + bx + c and parabola have meaning for me now!  Increasing and decreasing a slope makes sense now.

josies677blog commented on Week Seven Blog.

in response to akmathteacher:


3D Printing in Education. In education 3D printing can be used to “capture the interests of students, simulate interactions during class, create tangible aids and provide hands on learning” The main goal is to provide motivational ways for teachers to get their message across. And getting the message across with a physical object is very […]


I love the information that you provide on your blog 3D educational printing, “…to capture the interests of students, simulate interactions during class, create tangible aids and provide hands on learning.” What a great statement. I remember taking an art class and having to define in your own words what “create” means. To me create means, to bring something into being. That is exactly what you do with 3D printing you can clone something or make something completely brand new. I also love the fact that you can just create a part you need.


Aleta says:  July 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm  Thank you, Josie! I need visuals to understand many things–and it is faster to catch that “aha moment” with hands on visuals, adding in that kinesthetic part.

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