Teaching College Anatomy and Physiology with Tactile Technology

Dr. Erin Harmon, Ph.D., is a professor of Biology at Sage College in Albany, NY. In her Anatomy and Physiology lab, she instructs students to explore the human body through innovative hands-on learning – and her primary tool for doing so is the 3Doodler Create+ pen!

We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Erin about her teaching modality, and here is what she had to say.

What prompted you to start using 3Doodler Create+ pens in your college laboratory activities?

The first time I heard about 3Doodler pens, I was fascinated by the technology. It was only a little while before I came up with a way to incorporate it into my classroom. I quickly realized that it was ideal for teaching students in my Anatomy and Physiology lab how skeletal muscle attaches bone.

Can you please describe, in detail, the technique that you’re using with students in the Anatomy and Physiology lab?

"In my classes I ask students to work together in pairs to draw a series of muscles on a plastic skeleton. The details of this lab were recently featured in Course Hero’s Best Lesson Series."-Dr. Erin Harmon Share

In my classes I ask students to work together in pairs to draw a series of muscles on a plastic skeleton. The details of this lab were recently featured in Course Hero’s Best Lesson Series.

Each group of students is given a 3Doodler Create+ pen, a Wellden half-size skeleton, and approximately 1 strand of PLA plastic per muscle they are creating. Along with these materials, students are given a list of muscles and their origin and insertion points. With the skeleton as a base, students use the Create+ pens to draw muscles on the skeleton. Deeper muscles are drawn first, while more superficial muscles are drawn later. The PLA plastic adheres nicely to the Wellden skeleton, but can be easily removed at the end of lab, and re-used by other students.

We found that it takes approximately 2 hours for students to Doodle 12-15 muscles.

  • Colorful 3D pen art: human skeleton with wired details
  • Close-up 3D pen art: Colorful human skeleton model with wires

What advantages has this modality provided, as opposed to other methods you have used in the past?

The 3Doodler Create+ pens bring skeletal muscle anatomy to life for students. Students taking Anatomy and Physiology at The Sage Colleges are expected to learn the origin and insertion sites for 40-50 muscles. A given muscle will attach to a set of bones in at least 2 places, and many muscles attach in multiple sites. Historically, the hardest part of this lab for students is learning all these sites of attachment.

In the past, we have had students research and give presentations on subsets of muscles. We also had labs in which students drew muscles on 2D paper skeletons. While this engaged students somewhat, we were limited by the 2-dimensional nature of paper, as many muscles and their bony connections are best appreciated in 3D. I’ve heard of teachers having students build muscles on 3D skeletons using colored tape or clay. While I have not tried these methods myself, I imagine that each of these materials have their drawbacks.

With the 3Doodler Create+ pens, it was very easy for students to draw muscles on skeletons in 3D. The technology allowed students to appreciate how muscles overlap with each other. Additionally, by drawing out the muscles, students are able to better visualize the consequence of individual muscle contraction on skeletal movement to the rest of the system.

What are the impacts it has had on your students’ learning experiences?

Using the Create+ pens makes for engaging and memorable lab time.

Students are excited to use this new technology to draw muscles in 3D. Many students have said that they will “never forget” some of the muscles they Doodled. That was my exact hope – that by visually and mechanically engaging students during their learning process, it would solidify the memories of the muscles.

  • 3D pen art: Woman examining human skeleton model
  • 3D pen art: Woman crafting human skeleton model

What was the feedback from the students on learning in this new way?

I had a lot of positive feedback on this lab.

At first, some students were apprehensive when I told them they were going to be drawing muscles (particularly science minded individuals, those that do not consider themselves very artistic). However, the pens are very easy to use, and students caught on quickly.

The first year we tried this lab, we bought just a few pens, and students worked in groups of 4. The main feedback I got that year was that students wanted more pens! The following year we did just that. We added more pens and skeletons to the lab to allow students to work in smaller groups.

Students found this muscle lab to be very engaging. One student wrote that “this method helped my classmates and me visualize the muscles and their locations more easily.” Another student called it “the most memorable lab [of the year].” That sounds like success to me!

How can you see other teachers benefiting from using this technique?

This is a great lab, and it was very affordable. After our purchase of the pens and skeletons the first year, the only subsequent yearly costs are the inexpensive plastics.

Could you recommend some tips and tricks to other educators on how to get started in the classroom using a technique like yours?

The detailed step-by-step instructions of this lab (including muscles to draw and their recommended order) are available on Course Hero. In combination with the Create+ pens, we recommend the Welden half size skeletons for their size and anatomical detail.

We’re seeing exciting advancements with 3D printing in the field of medicine. Do you feel like what you’re doing helps prepare students to enter into an ever-evolving medical setting?

I see benefit from this skeletal muscle lab for my all my students, especially those in physical education, exercise science, or those entering programs for advanced degrees in physical or occupational therapy and medicine.

I believe this is a great foundational lab for these students because it prepares them to better understand what is happening inside their bodies and muscle systems. It is also invaluable for their advanced study of human muscle and how skeletal attachment relates to movement.

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JUKU Create+: Next Level Learning with 3Doodler and Office Depot

It’s official!

3Doodler has been working hard to bring you a special JUKU edition 3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen Set, only available at Office Depot.

The JUKU Create+ Pen Set comes with everything you need to start Doodling in 3D, including the 3Doodler Create+ pen, 50 strands of filaments, The Ultimate Guide to Doodling, and more!

“JUKU” is Japanese for supplementary education that prepares students for next-level learning, and that is exactly what the 3Doodler Create+ is for!

Bring learning to the next level with the JUKU 3Doodler Create+ pen, only at Office Depot.

Check it out at your local Office Depot, or through their online store.

Notable Doodlers: Doodling Wonderland with Lewis Carroll

We’ve gone down the rabbit hole…

And what did we find?

The secret Doodles of Lewis Carroll.

It turns out that the Alice in Wonderland author was an artist in more ways than one.

Lewis Carroll, born as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was indeed an avid Doodler. In fact, his original handwritten manuscript of Alice in Wonderland (1864) was riddled with Doodles of the story’s iconic characters.

When Lewis Carroll decided to publish his tale of Alice’s adventures, he brought on Punch magazine’s John Tenniel to illustrate the final publication. Carroll was quite invested in the specifics of how Wonderland was portrayed, so he played an influential role in Tenniel’s creative process.

Though it was Tenniel’s illustrations that made the final cut, Carroll’s original Doodles set the unique tone for the whimsical world of Wonderland.

"“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”"-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Share

We want to see your fairytale Doodles.

Share your creations with us on social media!

@3Doodler #3Doodler #WhatWillYouCreate?

3D Pen Sculptures with Ekaterina Vladimirovna: Creative Imagination and At-Home Education

Ekaterina Vladimirovna is a self taught artist who hails from Moscow, Russia. Her 3D pen sculptures are breathtaking, featuring webs of textures that create forms evocative of classical sculpture.

In addition to her accomplishments with the 3D pen for art, Ekaterina also integrates the 3Doodler pen into her homeschooling curriculum. In this interview, we discuss Ekaterina’s journey with the 3Doodler pen, the artists that influence her, and her experiences with 3D pens in at-home education.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us, Ekaterina. Can you please introduce yourself?

Thank you for featuring me! I’m a stay-at-home mom with four children, and I am an at-home educator of mathematics and physics. My only artistic background is in interior design. At home, when I’m not homeschooling, I devote all of my free time to creativity. The 3Doodler pen is a much loved tool in our household.

Truly, you are a testament to the achievements someone can make in a short time just by reviewing our tutorials. Can you share more about your artistic process, as well as your inspirations?

I recently took up sculpture and learned how to Doodle with a 3D pen in about 6 months. I studied all of the 3Doodler tutorials and videos available on the 3Doodler website and YouTube, even before I got my 3D pen. By the time I picked up the 3Doodler pen, I already knew how to use it! My technique is to study first, then create. When I first held the 3Doodler in my hands, I immediately fell in love with the metal body, interchangeable nozzles, and also the foot pedal. 3D pens are powerful creative tools, and for me they are ideal for creating sculptures.

My inspiration is fueled by many wonderful 3Doodler masters, such as Heather Baharally, Grace DuPrez, Connie Doodles, Marc Buhren, Rachel Goldsmith, Kalpten Donmez, and Eden Saadon.

Do you have any suggestions for people new to Doodling?

For new users, I would recommend reviewing the Getting Started videos, and exploring the Hot Tips, which have great techniques for your projects. I personally studied all of the tutorials I could before I got my 3D pen, and reviewed them again once I was using the pen in real time. Practice Doodling with stencils to get used to the pen as an art medium.

For those who have an idea for a specific project, I suggest you imagine in detail how your Doodle will look once completed, then Doodle your dream into being. Create a custom stencil for your project, then build it up in 3D. Most importantly, look at the works of art that inspire you and learn from those pieces. Analyze the colors, shapes, and proportions.

Can you share some details about your experience using 3Doodler for at-home education?

For many reasons, my family chose homeschooling. I have been teaching my younger sons for 3 years. We are very pleased that this has become popular in Russia.

We have to meet various regulations for homeschooling, and the educational institution we homeschool through provides us with the necessary textbooks and online tests. I have the opportunity to regulate the pace of learning, which is fantastic.

We began using the 3Doodler pens about 7 months ago in our mathematics activities. Recently we studied area and perimeter, and used the 3Doodler lesson plan on that topic. We’ve also used the Doodle Place Value lesson, as well as the Comparing Numbers with Doodle Gator lesson.

Now the gator is hanging on our study board!

The artist Ekaterina Vladimirovna The artist Ekaterina Vladimirovna

I highly recommend using 3Doodler pens in at-home education because they are great tools for keeping students engaged with the subject matter. 3D pens really make learning fun!

Does Ekaterina’s art and homeschooling inspire you? If so, you can find more of her creations on her website and Instagram.

Please share your art and homeschooling stories with us on social media!
@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU

Teacher Spotlight: Ellen Peterson on Technology in the Classroom

So, you want the low-down on current classroom experiences with EdTech?

In honor of National Teacher Day, we are thrilled to launch our new Teacher Spotlight series. This ongoing series will highlight exemplary teachers in the field, and give you a glimpse into their tech-savvy classrooms. Ellen Peterson, middle school technology teacher, helps us kick off the series by sharing her classroom happenings.

"As a technology teacher, it is my goal to develop my students into creators versus consumers. I want to give my students the tools and skills they need for real-world problem-solving. It is as simple as that!" Share

Can you please tell us a little about yourself, the school you work at, and a brief vision of your goals as a teacher?

I currently teach middle school technology, and for the last 12 years before now I have been a science teacher. I teach in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in a small, rural school district. My school, Smithfield Middle School, draws a wide range of students. I also work with the Verizon Innovative Learning program for rural girls during my summers, which offers girls the opportunity to learn about 3D printing, coding, entrepreneurship, augmented reality, and virtual reality. It was through this program that I became a fan of 3Doodler technology.

Our district is making changes to our programs that support students being college, career, and life ready. In doing so, we are developing our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, which encompass engineering, mechatronics, computer science, and more. With this push into real-world application of technology skills, my classes have been given the opportunity to expand and make use of tools like 3Doodler pens.

Ellen using 3D pen and laptop

As a technology teacher, it is my goal to develop my students into creators versus consumers. I want to give my students the tools and skills they need for real-world problem-solving. It is as simple as that!

What notable benefits have you found using 3Doodler pens in the classroom?

Most notably, I have my students’ attention! That’s a difficult achievement with middle school students. I start my 3D printing unit with 3Doodler pens. I want everyone to see that making things is possible, even if you aren’t “good at math” or are “not an artist” and “can’t” use computers to design things.

Even before the introduction to how to use the pens, student ideas are flowing. It doesn’t matter if you are a nerd or a jock, a great student or a below average one, etc. Everyone can use 3Doodler pens to create something. My students especially like to chat while they are working. I overhear them sharing ideas and user tips while they create. For stretches of 30-60 minutes, they forget about their phones and social media and just talk and create. I then encourage them to share their ideas and get feedback. I’ve not had a student yet who was not engaged in the process.

What subjects have you utilized 3Doodler pens in? Can you give some examples of lessons you have administered that include using 3Doodler?

I have used 3Doodler pens to reinforce my science content. We’ve “invented” our own organisms and given them adaptations to suit their environments. Using 3Doodler pens, we’ve made models of those organisms, then written “scientific journal articles” about the discovery of these creatures, classifying and identifying them as real scientists would do.

I have used 3Doodler pens in my summer program as a precursor to 3D printing and design with software and printers. Girls in the program were asked to create, prototype, and mock-market a telecommunication device of the future. Though several groups worked solely with the 3D printer, most groups chose a hybrid of technology, using the 3Doodler pens to create what they could not accomplish with the software.

I’ve shared my 3Doodler pens with the History teacher that was on my teaching team. He taught the History, and I taught the students how to use the pens. The kids then used the 3D pens to create “action figures” of historical characters, writing about events like the trials and tribulations of pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

We’ve even used the 3Doodler pens to create “costumes” for our Ozobot and Edison robots to enhance our learning.

You mentioned using Ozobot and Edison robots. What other EdTech do you use in the classroom?

  • Girl creating cell phone art with 3D pen
  • Person holding 3D pen art in room

I use anything I can get my hands on! In my classroom, I have two 3D printers, desktop computers, iPads, 3Doodler Creates, various coding robot platforms (VEX IQ, Meet Edison, Ozobots, Sphero, micro:bits), electrical circuitry (with copper tape, LEDs, batteries, etc.), 360 cameras, and a Full Spectrum laser cutter.

Though the bigger pieces have been funded through my school district, a majority of my materials are funded through alternative sources. Funding is slim so I spend a great deal of time and effort securing alternative funding through Donors Choose or grants when I can.

How have 3Doodler pens and other technologies enhanced learning in your classroom? How do you feel that EdTech is impacting the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow?

Above all else, I believe that engagement is key, especially with middle school-aged students. They are so difficult to impress and convince to learn. In their digital world, if it doesn’t do something really cool, RIGHT NOW, it isn’t worth giving it a second look. Most of the tools I have and use are chosen to do that. I find myself constantly looking for the next “thing” to capture their attention. Only when I have their attention can I help them develop skills like creative thinking, problem-solving, and communicating.

The days of learning facts and figures to help you in your daily life, including employment, are long since gone. I believe that adaptability and the ability to learn will be paramount in the jobs of tomorrow. Technology is evolving so quickly that I doubt programming languages that I can teach my students today will be still in use by the time they are employed. What I hope is that I can ignite a passion for learning and discovering how to use tools to solve problems that will take my students into the future.

Are there any classroom success stories you’d like to share with our community?

Ellen in her classroom Ellen in her classroom

I have one student that sticks out most in my head. I had the incredible fortune of being able to teach him for two years in a row due to my changing grade levels. Although he is a smart, capable young man, he hasn’t always been successful in a traditional school setting. Because I had him for two years, he was pretty familiar with the tools and technology available in my classroom.

Towards the end of the second year, our class was working on a project, readying it for presentation in a day or two. A plastic part of our display broke somehow, and we could not get a replacement in the limited time we had left. I sat down at the table for a minute to think about what we could do to remedy the situation. Without missing a beat, he said, “Can’t we just use the 3Doodler or the printer and make a new one? It would probably only take about an hour.”

Please be sure to follow Ellen on Twitter to keep up with her classroom happenings!

Inspired by Ellen and her students? Post your classroom Doodles on Twitter and connect with the 3Doodler EDU community!
@3Doodler #3Doodler

Close-up: 3D pen art cake with sticks design

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