Festive 3D Pen Crafts for Kids

Christmas crafts are a great way to keep your kids busy and happy on their winter break! Develop their creativity and motor-skills as they Doodle away at these projects. Parents are encouraged to join in on the fun. All you need is your 3Doodler Start pen, some plastic filaments, and the stencils for each project.

1. DIY Mini Christmas Trees

Make these adorable mini trees to decorate your mantelpiece or dining table. Print out this Christmas Tree Stencil and follow the video tutorial below to make your own set of trees in minutes! Add tiny ornaments to dress it up any way you like.

Download Stencil


Tips:
  • Add a loop on top of the tree to thread a string through, and hang it up as an ornament.

2. Snowflake Ornaments

Don’t these snowflakes look gorgeous? Guess what, they’re extremely easy to make. Just print out
this stencil, trace over it with your 3Doodler Start pen, add a loop to one end and thread a ribbon through. Hang them up to give your home that beautiful wintery vibe.

Download Stencil

Tips:
  • Draw your own snowflake stencils to make each one unique.

3. DIY Personalised Gift Tags

Add a heartwarming touch to your Christmas gifts this year with a personalized gift tag! Print this stencil and pick out your loved one’s favorite holiday object (Ginger-bread man, mistletoe, angel, etc.), outline the shape with your 3Doodler pen, write their name in the center, and Doodle to fill up the rest of the shape. Add a loop to the top of the tag to finish.

Download Stencil


Tips:
  • Hang these name tags on stockings or just write your friend’s name in 3D – you can use this all year round for birthdays, weddings and other gifting occasions.

Want more family Holiday craft projects? Check out our blog.

#whatwillyoucreate

Happy Doodling!

Hooked On Heather’s Sea Creatures

Heather Baharally has been an artist since she sold her first googly-eyed pom pom creature to her teacher in second grade. Today, she sustains her practice through her mixed media artwork, such as this Sea Creatures collection. We had the opportunity to interview Heather to learn more about her work.

Watch the video above to see how Heather Doodles an Octopus with the 3Doodler Start Pen.

Doodling Journey

Heather got her first 3Doodler 2.0 pen from the Kickstarter campaign in 2015, and has been adding her own creative flair to Doodling ever since. In Sept 2016, Heather made her first mask with the 3Doodler Create, which sent her down a year long path of mask making. She has accrued an incredible collection of masks, and has even sold several of them at various events. During that time, she also made mixed media paintings, using the 3Doodler to add 3D elements on the canvas.

Her unique style and daring personality means she is always cooking up new ideas. Currently, she’s experimenting with different techniques with the 3Doodler Start, and learning more about making videos to share how her artwork is made with her audience. “I love how impulsive I can be. I can sit down with nothing and create something real in minutes, “ she enthusiastically shared.

A Seahorse made with the 3Doodler Start Pen

Heather’s Love For The Ocean

Heather is from a landlocked area of Canada, so the ocean, which she could rarely come into contact with, fascinated her. She loved how incredibly beautiful and colorful sea creatures are, which made them amazing art subjects. She carefully studied the different patterns, shapes, and textures of these magnificent creatures, and started making her own.

Mixing Media

The 3Doodler Start pen offers Heather a unique Doodling technique. Because extruded plastic takes about 10-15 seconds to harden, Heather finds that she can manipulate the plastic by hand, similar to shaping clay. She starts by Doodling the base structure, then adds plastic bit by bit, moulding and smoothing with her fingers as she goes. Once the shape is complete, she adds a layer of ink to highlight all the folds and creases to create the skin texture, which really brings the structure to life. Finally, to give her creatures that realistic wet finish, Heather coats them with resin. The Octopus is her favourite amongst the sea creatures, and she plans on revisiting that design. “I have made two large-scale paintings featuring octopuses. It’s my favourite subject,” she exclaimed.

Tips & Tricks from Heather:
  • Use your fingers to create desirable shapes like curves.

  • Let the plastic cool without touching it to leave a line mark which will show up when ink wash is applied. This is great for textured surfaces.

  • To make spikes like in the Seahorse, pinch the plastic before it hardens, and gently pull to shape.

  • To make spots or bumpy skin, Doodle a small blob of plastic, then gently press down to make a small smooth circle.

Thank you Heather for letting us interview you and for sharing your amazing work with us!
To see more of her work, visit Heather’s Instagram Page .

All projects by: Heather Baharally

5 Reasons Why You Should Raise a Wimpy Kid

The story of Greg Heffley’s struggles has inspired millions, and it all started with a diary.

Research shows that active storytelling and creativity has long-lasting impacts on children’s development that carry on well into adulthood, meaning the stories they tell now can have a positive impact on shaping the adults they’ll eventually become.

Does your kid have what it takes to be a Wimpy Kid with great storytelling? Here’s why you should help them get there:

  • 1. Wimpy Kids Solve Problems

    Storytelling and engaging in creative fiction also helps children develop problem-solving skills for real-life situations. What happens in their stories may not be true, but by working through fictional problems kids’ brains learn to apply the same thought process to obstacles they may face in their day-to-day life.
  • 2. Wimpy Kids Get Along Better

    Children who engage in fiction—either from reading, writing, or having stories read to them—find it easier to understand other people. This helps them form better social connections earlier in life.
  • 3. Wimpy Kids Show Empathy

    By engaging with the reactions of characters in stories, kids develop the ability to grasp the thoughts and feelings of others. This means even outside of stories, kids can learn how to show empathy for those around them, whether on the playground or in the classroom.
  • 4. Wimpy Kids Create

    Aside from writing and making up new stories, creating tangible characters that kids can move and see interacting enhances stories for kids, and helps stimulate learning, engagement, and brain activity even more.
  • 5. Wimpy Kids Play

    Creating characters and writing their own storylines gives kids a head start for wide range of artistic pursuits, which plays a big part in being a well-rounded student (you can read more about how art plays a role in academics here). Kids can apply the thinking and engagement they get from storytelling to theater, movie-making, writing, or other art forms.

For a limited time, you can get a free 3D Diary inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid along with a free pack of 3Doodler Start Plastic with every purchase of a 3Doodler Start Essentials or Super Mega Pen Set and give your kids a guided way to help inspire them to create and tell their own stories, while creating touchable and permanent characters that they can use for endless future story combinations.

A Whole New Way for the Blind to Create

“I always felt that if I could see, then I would enjoy painting.”

Margaret Wilson-Hinds, age 67, is participating in a special workshop at the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) main office in Peterborough, England. Along with several other blind and partially-sighted participants, Margaret has just tried the 3Doodler Start for the first time.

Beginning with the launch of the first 3Doodler in 2013, members of our community reached out to us to explore opportunities for using the 3Doodler to overcome a variety of learning obstacles. We spoke with community centres, teachers of non-traditional learners, physical rehabilitation specialists, and teachers of the blind—all of whom thought the 3Doodler could be used to make a real difference in individual lives. As our company has grown, so has our ability to focus on these needs, with our first challenge being to adapt the 3Doodler Start for the blind and partially sighted.

“The original thinking with the first version of the 3Doodler was that it could be used by teachers of the blind and partially sighted to make tactile learning aids,” explains 3Doodler President, Daniel Cowen. “This could include raised line graphing, maps and directions, shapes or objects a student could feel, quick braille markings, feeling handwriting, and more.”

"The real goal was to create a pen that blind and partially-sighted users could use themselves." Share

Daniel and 3Doodler CEO Maxwell Bogue took note as feedback came in from those who saw how a 3D printing pen could fill a gap amongst learning aids, and provide support for the blind.

“From our earliest discussions with interested community members, we also learned that existing aides, like swell paper, were expensive and could be inadequate for these needs,” says Daniel. “The 3Doodler offered a robust way to draw touchable learning aids.”

However, there was one significant shortfall—up until that point most of the discussions had been with teachers for the blind and had been focused on educators using the pen to make tactile learning aids for their students. The real goal was to create a pen that blind and partially-sighted users could use themselves—placing the joy and accomplishment of creativity and learning directly into their hands.

Three years later, the launch of the 3Doodler Start provided the pathway to make this possible. With no hot parts and a plastic cool enough to touch, we finally had a 3D printing pen that was safe for all users.

Shortly after launching the 3Doodler Start, our team began the process of understanding what changes would be needed to create a meaningful experience for blind and partially-sighted users.

“RNIB wanted to test the product because the whole idea of 3D printing is a revolution,” explains RNIB Head of Strategy Steve Tyler. “But this take on it is particularly interesting because it’s portable, it’s hand-held, and it’s a whole new way of being able to allow children, young people, and anybody who is vision impaired to be creative.”

With a proactive approach to new tech and how it could be applied to helping the visually impaired, RNIB was a natural fit for a collaboration with 3Doodler, and would ensure rigorous testing and feedback so that the product could be adapted and enhanced in a meaningful way.

Conversations with RNIB provided the 3Doodler team with useful preliminary advice—such as incorporating tactile markings on the pen instead of braille, and the importance of audio instructions for blind users.

Now, after a year of feedback and testing—which included individuals, as well as two schools for the blind and partially sighted—the 3Doodler Start has been given the official RNIB product endorsement, a quality assurance mark for products identified as “easy-to-use” for those who are blind or have sight loss.

And opening new avenues for the blind to express creatively isn’t just about innovation, it has a direct personal impact on people’s lives.

“Being able to draw, and being able to feel what you’ve drawn, or being able to create a product using this kind of manual 3D printing method is really new and innovative,” says Steve. “I’ve got a 5 year old son, and I spent an hour with him yesterday. A sighted son, and me as a blind father, and we were able to enjoy the 3Doodler together.”

"It’s a whole new way of being able to allow children, young people, and anybody who is vision impaired to be creative." Share

Back at the RNIB office in Peterborough, Roger Wilson-Hinds admits he was reluctant to participate in the 3Doodler workshop. “I came thinking I couldn’t cope with this kind of stuff, I had to persuade myself to come,” he says. But after experimenting with patterns on cups and forms, and creating a ring for himself, he’s glad he stepped out of his comfort zone. “I’ve come away with the idea that [the 3Doodler] could be really good, this could be good for lots of people.”

The official RNIB case study put the 3Doodler Start into the hands of both young students and adults, with participants aged between 8 and 78 and with varying degrees of sight loss and vision.

Through participant feedback as well as recommendations from RNIB, the 3Doodler Start now has tactile buttons, new audio instructions to help users get started, and will soon have full instructions in Braille.

“For me, I always enjoyed art but I could never fully see what I was doing,” says Mark Evans, at the RNIB workshop.

“And I’d have the idea in my head, and I’d draw it on the page, and it’d look awful! Because I’m not a great artist,” he laughs.

But with the 3Doodler, Mark didn’t feel the same sense of frustration he’d had in the past with traditional creative tools. “This would enable me to do things and be creative and produce a better quality of work and enjoy art a lot more,” he says.

Everyone at 3Doodler is immensely proud of the work done with RNIB, as well as the impact these product changes will have on the creative lives of our users. We want to thank everyone who has been involved in this project to date, and underscore our commitment to creating a world where every person, regardless of ability, can have access to the tools they need to create and learn.

To learn more about 3Doodler EDU products, click here:

LEARN MORE

Visit the official RNIB website to learn more about their work in supporting the blind and partially sighted.

The Future of EDU

Education has always been a key focus for 3Doodler. With a new Head of Education for 3Doodler EDU, and with another successful year at ISTE 2017, we’re looking to the future of education and tactile technology.

With a commitment to learning and classroom integration, we’re continually learning how we can improve accessibility and usability, to get more 3Doodlers into more classrooms and into the hands of more students.

A Focus on Education

As 3Doodler EDU grows and learns, we’ve expanded our education department with aerospace engineer and logistics and supply chain specialist Leah Wyman as our new Head of Education.

“We know the appointment of an aerospace and project engineer with supply chain experience to lead our education efforts may look unusual on paper,” admits 3Doodler Co-founder and CEO Maxwell Bogue. “But Leah’s engineering background, experience in data-driven strategy, and her lifelong love of learning make her the perfect fit for 3Doodler EDU.”

“Leah, as well as having an education background, also has a strong background in operations and management, and for us, in a way personifies STEM,” agrees 3Doodler Co-founder Daniel Cowen.

As a life-long leader in the push for gender equality in STEM subjects, Leah brings the experience and knowledge vital to helping 3Doodler’s own efforts in closing the gender gap.

“Having done engineering at school, and part of the minority of women in that field, Leah gives us an insight that allows us to help level that playing field even further,” explains Daniel.

Leah’s current focus is a close examination of the end-to-end experience of 3Doodler EDU. From first discovery to integration in the classroom and returning feedback to the company, Leah’s primary concern is providing the resources and accessibility that helps educators get the most out of their EDU bundles. But more than anything, she wants to be able to help teachers and students discover the joy of learning.

"Learning should be fun, and this is a way to help teachers achieve that." Share

“One of my goals is to really illustrate how learning is fun,” Leah explains. “Learning should be fun, and this is a way to help teachers achieve that. Teachers want that, and so do the kids.”

Leah says that having fun and engaging in the learning process is key. “I was lucky that I enjoyed learning when I was growing up, and that helped shape who I am today,” she says. “All kids deserve that opportunity, and 3Doodler can really help bring lessons to life in a fun way.”

Building Creative Classrooms

Integrating 3Doodler into education has always been a part of our mission.

“From the very early days of 3Doodler there was a keen interest within the education sector in what we were doing,” recalls Daniel. “And we saw this coming from a lot of different groups—special needs groups as well as just educators generally.”

While one of our initial concepts for how the 3Doodler could be applied in an educational setting was for STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Math—subjects, it soon became clear that there were no limits for how the 3Doodler could help students learn.

We’ve seen creative teachers use the 3Doodler to teach any combination of subjects, like creating a model town to help students engage with history and English. Educators across the country have found that the 3Doodler is the perfect tool for integrating art into the typical STEM subjects, to create STEAM for a well-rounded curriculum.

Other teachers have found that a tactile learning tool like 3Doodler helps students with learning disabilities engage better in the classroom.

For Leah, that hands-on learning opportunity is what makes 3Doodler so special. “I think every student can benefit from having that hands-on experience with learning,” she explains, “but there are other students who don’t learn in a traditional way who can really benefit from this. They might think they’re a bad student, but when you put something like the 3Doodler in their hands, then they realise they can do it, but just in a different way.”

“If we can help students who are more visually or tactile oriented progress quicker than they would have otherwise, then that’s a great thing,” Daniel agrees. “It levels the playing field. And every study we’ve done has shown that students that otherwise might have been at a disadvantage because they’re not textbook oriented have thrived with a tactile tool like the 3Doodler.”

"If we can help students who are more visually or tactile oriented progress quicker than they would have otherwise, then that’s a great thing." Share

With EDU bundles for both the 3Doodler Start and Create, we’re looking to a future of integrated tech in classrooms all over the world. And as we continue to seek new ways to design our products, website, and materials to be more classroom friendly, we’re also looking at ways to make the 3Doodler accessible for any teacher or student.

Initiatives like our partnership with DonorsChoose.org opened up creative possibilities for students across the country.

“The dream is to have this in every school, whether private or public, and to have 3Doodler accessible to every student, no matter their income level or where they are in the world,” says Daniel.

Read about how teachers Connie and Blair and Patricia and Christy funded their DonorChoose.org projects and integrated 3Doodler into their classrooms.

3Doodler at ISTE 2017

ISTE 2017 marks 3Doodler’s third year of participating in the education conference that brings thousands of teachers together to share and celebrate their ideas for STEM innovation and tech.

“For us, ISTE is as much showing off our wares as it is about absorbing the thoughts from thousands to tens of thousands of teachers on what we can be doing to improve the classroom experience and to take 3Doodler and adapt it and our materials so the students can gain even more from it,” explains Daniel.

Leah agrees. “It was great to be able to interface with the teachers and also some students that were there to really understand their ideas for the product,” she says. “Especially the teachers who already had 3Doodler EDU bundles and could explain some of their lesson plans. I’m so impressed with how teachers have been able to integrate the pens into their classrooms already.”

One teacher explained how she had used the 3Doodler to give her health students a clearer concept of disease and how different sicknesses affect the body. In pairs, one student would use the 3Doodler to create a model of a healthy organ, while the other was tasked with Doodling the same organ but with a specific illness.

In other cases, teachers and students discovering the 3Doodler for the first time discovered new applications that hadn’t considered before. “We have a fully articulated Doodled hand that we bring to every show and it sits on the front table,” says Daniel. “This year, a deaf student and teacher with their sign translator came by the booth, and saw the hand. Mid-conversation, the sign translator started using the articulated hand to make sign gestures.”

It was something the team had never seen before, and were immediately struck with how something like a Doodled hand could be used to teach sign language in a tactile way.

"ISTE is as much showing off our wares as it is about absorbing the thoughts from thousands to tens of thousands of teachers." Share

Other discoveries for the team came from concerns from teachers who were able to picture exactly how their kids might use—or try to misuse—the pens in the classroom.

This year, 3Doodler was proud to feature EDU bundles for the 3Doodler Start and showcase how younger learners could benefit from tactile technology in the classroom. One teacher was concerned about whether the 3Doodler Start plastic would come out of carpet.

“The teacher said they could just picture the students sitting on the floor of the classroom and Doodling into the carpet,” Daniel says. “So we decided to find out!”

He immediately sat down with a 3Doodler Start on the carpeted floor of the ISTE convention hall and brazenly Doodled as an elementary student might.

Fortunately for everyone involved, the Start plastic came right off, and ISTE 2017 was able to continue with more teachable moments.

A Doodle a Day

Just as “an apple a day will keep the doctor away,” creating something every day can have measurable benefits.

Art may not keep the doctor away, but it can still improve your life, your motor skills, and even your mental health. We spoke to an expert about just what shape these benefits take, with a focus on what art can do for students.

An exceptionally wide variety of people can benefit from creating art, according to Dawn Gilbert Ippoliti. Ippoliti is a licensed, board certified, and registered art therapist in New York City who has been in practice since 2003. As an art therapist, she develops ways to use art with clients of all ages to achieve goals that can range from gaining insight into a client’s psychological state, to exercising their minds through engaging in a creative process. She has also engaged in art therapy with children in New York City’s public schools.

"Creativity promotes productivity while reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and really just makes you function better overall and feel better as a human being." Share

Art therapy is becoming an increasingly popular field, which Ippoliti believes is in large part due to recent research into the concept of “neuroplasticity,” the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new connections.

Forming new connections is critical to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which is gaining prominence in many education circles. With the emergence of a high-tech economy, educators are realizing the importance of emphasizing subjects that help students master and enter these new fields.

But a simple mastery of numbers is not enough to excel in many STEM jobs. This includes brand new jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago as well as traditional ones such as engineering and programming. To truly excel not just in these fields, but in life as well, people need a healthy dose of creativity. Combining art with the more technical fields yields STEAM, a more holistic approach to preparing students for the future.

“When people engage in art making,” Ippoliti says, “they’re really tapping into the right side of their brain, they’re getting those creative juices flowing and they’re stimulating the side of the brain responsible for creation and emotion, an abstract way of thinking as opposed to the left which is more rational.”

Getting both sides of the brain working in concert, what is known as “whole brain stimulation” is very beneficial according to Ippoliti. “There is research that indicates that creativity promotes productivity while reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and really just makes you function better overall and feel better as a human being. Art therapy’s goal is to provide that stimulation.”

Ippoliti sees the 3Doodler as uniquely suited to providing that whole brain stimulation. “Using something like the dinosaur stencils on the website you can use the pen to make all the little bones and put it all together. So you’re not only being creative in terms of picking the design you want or the color that you want, you’re creating something, but then you’re putting it together like a puzzle and really engaging in whole brain thinking.”

The 3Doodler is unique in that it can provide familiarity with a high-tech material like extruded plastic while also encouraging a tactile feel that relies on an individual’s motor skills. There is extensive evidence that there are numerous benefits for children to work with art. There are obvious advantages to fine motor skills and spatial thinking, but being able to express themselves in any medium can lead to more confidence and more capacity for critical thinking.

The ability of the 3Doodler to fuse these different types of thinking is particularly valuable.

“There are some schools of thought that students should focus purely on academics,” Ippoliti says of curriculums that don’t make room for art. “These types of academics will focus purely on engaging the left side of the brain, but you need balance to really get all the benefits of a growing brain. You need the symbiosis between the two hemispheres. You need to be constantly engaging both sides of the brain to grow optimally.”

"It can be hard to figure out where to begin with a project, and the 3Doodler is great for just getting your ideas out there." Share

Beyond the extensive benefits for growing individuals, creating art of all sorts has a real value for everybody. Some research suggests that there are both psychological and physical benefits to creating art, with certain kinds yielding different therapeutic values. And one of the most significant perks of creating art is that getting the benefits is as simple as picking up a tool and getting started. That’s why Ippoliti loves the name of the 3Doodler.

“It can be hard to figure out where to begin with a project, and the 3Doodler is great for just getting your ideas out there. The name, ‘3Doodler’ means it doesn’t have to feel like you’re creating a masterpiece from the start. The name says ‘let’s just get it out there,’ and in art therapy getting the process started is often one of the most important parts.”

3Doodler x DonorsChoose.org: The Only Limit is Their Imagination

Late last year, a group of teachers in the US each got their DonorsChoose.org projects fully funded, thanks to a matching offer from 3Doodler. As a result, students in classrooms across the country got their hands on 3Doodler Start pens, and were able to unleash creativity in the classroom like never before.

In the second of our DonorsChoose.org teacher profiles, we take a look at two more educators, Patricia Dennis-McClung of Sonora Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas, and Christy Marta of Aspen Ridge School in Ishpeming, Michigan.

Ask Patricia Dennis-McClung what it is that motivates her as a teacher, and she’ll tell you that it’s the ‘aha’ moments on her students’ faces. “It’s seeing their faces light up,” she says, when they finally grasp a concept, or when they make that crucial connection from A to B. Throw the same question to Christy Marta, and she’d agree and say that her students push her to be a better person and a better teacher. “They are an inspiration to others even if they don’t know it yet.”

Sonora Middle School has a very diverse make-up, with about half of the students identifying as Hispanic and 15% as Marshallese. “Springdale has the largest Marshallese population outside of the Marshall islands.” Over 52% of students meet the low-income criteria, and 78% of the students enrolled at Sonora Middle School receive free or reduced lunch – “and that’s those that have filled out the paperwork and qualified,” Patricia adds, as many of the parents simply don’t know how.

Aspen Ridge School is, Christy says, a rural school in a remote community. “We have a large preschool-8th-grade population, and with the cost of basic supplies, curriculum materials, and intervention programs, it’s sometimes difficult to meet all current needs.” One of her main priorities is ensuring that her students leave her classroom with a lifelong love of learning. Key to that is having access to proper materials, like the 3Doodler Start EDU bundle successfully funded late last year.

Much like Blair and Connie, Christy and Patricia both came across 3Doodler via DonorsChoose.org. Patricia had wanted for some time to incorporate 3D printing pens into her 3D design classes, and when she saw the matching offer made by 3Doodler, she knew that they would be perfect for the gifted and talented program at her school.

"The pens have turned an everyday assignment into something amazing." Share

“3D printing is something that a lot of these kids are going to be working with in the future,” she says. “And that’s something that I don’t think people have really thought about at the moment.” The 3Doodler Create Half EDU bundle that they received earlier this year has given her students an opportunity to have a hands-on experience with technology that already shapes the way the world works – from Hershey’s Kisses to homes that have been printed entirely with 3D tech. “It’s just insane the way technology is moving, so I think that it’s important for kids to have exposure to it.”

For Christy, the reasons for choosing 3Doodler were a little simpler – after discovering the Match Offer, she did a little research on 3Doodler and what the pens could do, she realised that they would be ideal for use in her classes.

“I looked into them,” she says, “And loved what I saw. I thought I could use them to help my students visualise shapes in their actual 3D forms in math, make models of plants, cells and planets in science, and write stories and create characters through 3D modeling in language arts. I saw the students being able to bring their ideas to life, and I thought it would add fun and excitement to the curriculum.” It has, Christy adds, gone beyond that – her students absolutely love using the pens. The pens have “turned an everyday assignment into something amazing,” and her students have come up with any number of ways in which to use the pens, which they beg to be able to use every day.

"I’m always just shocked by the people that I don’t know that donate. It shows how important something like DonorsChoose.org is." Share

It’s clear that this enthusiasm for the pens is shared by Patricia’s students too. “They love them,” she says. “When they see them laid out, they get really excited. The first time we used them, it was in a 45 minute class, and I was just so impressed that they did so much better than I did.” Patricia’s students went from using the pens to weld 3D printed pieces together, to using them to create small-scale models of things they’d create on a 3D printer. “There will be more ways for the students to use the pens than what I’d initially anticipated. I’m going to be creating a makerspace so that more students from the school can use them. I want to be able to provide an opportunity for more students to use them than just my class.”

Both Christy and Patricia have said that the pens, and the use of tactile technology, have been very easily incorporated into their classroom work. “They’re a great motivator for kids,” Christy says, “and are an effective teaching tool. Students are allowed free time to use the pens after all their work is complete, and it has been very effective.” Her students are always thrilled to be able to use them, and whatever they create is only ever limited by their own imagination.

Unlike Blair and Connie, both Patricia and Christy shared their DonorsChoose.org projects openly with their students – Christy’s students are in fact begging her to do another project to get more pens or more of the plastic refills. When it came to getting their projects heard, neither educator did all that much, other than post about it on social media. “Since we do have such an impoverished community, [the children and their parents] were not able to donate to it,” Patricia explains. “I have a classroom Instagram page so I put it on there, and I put it on Facebook too. I’m always just shocked by the people that I don’t know that donate. It shows how important something like DonorsChoose.org is.” Christy also shared her project on Facebook, and adds that this project had been fully funded by two donors. “Normally I’d have parents or companies to thank, but both of the donations were anonymous.”

As much fun as the students have been having with the pens (and both educators have plenty to say on that topic!), for Patricia it’s all about what they’ll take away from the experience of using them. “Are they fun? Absolutely,” she says, “but hopefully it’ll allow them to see things differently.” Tactile technology, and the benefits of hands-on learning with the pens can already be felt, mere months into use for both teachers. “I think they’re a bit more cooperative. There’s always someone that’s willing to jump in and help out another student, or they’ll swap pens and say ‘here, use mine and I’ll fix yours’.”

The possibilities are endless, agrees Christy, and it’s thanks to platforms like DonorsChoose.org, which has allowed educators access to materials previously inaccessible to them. “Every day, the students demonstrate that they are critical thinkers, leaders, dreamers, hard workers, and amazing little people.”

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

3Doodler x DonorsChoose.org: What They Are Creating

Late last year, a group of teachers in the US each got their DonorsChoose.org projects fully funded, thanks to a matching offer from 3Doodler. As a result, students in classrooms across the country got their hands on 3Doodler Start pens, and were able to unleash creativity in the classroom like never before.

In the first of our DonorsChoose.org teacher profiles, we shine a light on two of these teachers, Blair Mishleau of Washington DC’s Kipp DC: Heights Academy, and Connie Bagley of Crockett Elementary School in San Marco, Texas.

Students at Kipp DC: Heights Academy get first-hand experience with the 3Doodler Start

This wasn’t Blair Mishleau’s first DonorsChoose.org rodeo—the Washington DC-based teacher is a veteran of the crowdfunding website for educators, having raised more than $20,000, and with more than nine projects under his belt.

“I want to provide my kids with choice and voice,” he says. His school is a public charter school in Washington DC in one of the most historically underserved neighbourhoods of the state. The school has 450 students, and 99% of them are African American. Of that number, 90% qualify for free or reduced-price lunches—a pretty useful measure, Blair adds, of the socioeconomic statuses of the families of the students.

"The students could write with them, and then actually feel the shape of the letters." Share

Connie Bagley, a dyslexia reading specialist, has approximately 650 students at her school from Kindergarten through 5th grade. Over 75% of the students there are economically disadvantaged. It is student success that motivates Connie as a teacher—every day she works with dyslexic learners that advance best when taught through visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic methods.

Connie Bagley's students make letters you can touch

“Seeing students learn to read, then read to learn is what makes this job rewarding.” That’s why Connie decided that the 3Doodler Start pens would be great for her students. “My first thought was that these would be perfect for multisensory instruction. My students learn best with a VAKT program: visual, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic.” The 3Doodler pens, would be very effective at fulfilling the tactile portion of the program. “The students could write with them, and then actually feel the shape of the letters.”

Both Connie and Blair came across 3Doodler in the same way—via emails from DonorsChoose.org that told them about a matching offer with 3Doodler. Any donations made by the public would be matched by 3Doodler, ensuring that the project would be fulfilled in half the time (or as quickly as possible!). That’s why, Blair says, websites like DonorsChoose.org are so important to his students, as it opens up access to tools for disadvantaged kids that they simply wouldn’t have otherwise.

Late last year, Blair’s project requesting a 3Doodler Start EDU Bundle for his technology classes was fully funded. The pens have been utilised in his 1st and 4th grade technology classes, which focus on tech literacy, computer programming, keyboarding, and “pretty much anything else that would be helpful in providing access and opportunity around technology”. And they have, for the most part, lived up to expectations.

"No kid has said ‘I can’t figure this out,’ or ‘I give up,’ with the pens. I can’t think of a tool that I’ve used where that’s been the case." Share

“I often find that a lot of tech projects are a lot more sexier and user friendly in videos and photos compared to when you actually get them, but once I got the pens, I realized how sturdy they were, and how easy they are to use.” Each one of his classes only gets to use the 3Doodler pens once a week, but they’ve already quickly adapted to using them. “No kid has said ‘I can’t figure this out,’ or ‘I give up,’ with the pens. I can’t think of a tool that I’ve used where that’s been the case.”

Students in Blair Mishleau’s class cooperate to create

Connie has found equal enthusiasm in her classes for her 3Doodler Start EDU bundle. “The students are begging to use them,” she says, although they’re still getting used to them for now. Connie’s students are taking full advantage of other objects around them, using small paper cups as bases to create things like rocket ships and towers, with stars and other shapes as decorations. Connie also plans to share her pens with fellow teachers who do lessons on architecture.

One thing that Blair has noticed is that his students have worked as a team much better than he would have thought they would using the pens. “I don’t have enough pens for everyone—just one per two children—but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how kind they are. Not only do they work in groups, but I’ll see students—when it’s not technically their turn to use the pens—helping others.” Not only have his students been working better together, Blair has also found that they have been taking creative steps without his input—with some children building geometric shapes before he had even introduced them as a concept.

Both Connie and Blair chose not to tell their students about their DonorsChoose.org projects, as they did not want to have to disappoint them if they weren’t funded. “My students did not even know I had submitted a project,” said Connie. Blair did the same as he felt it was better to under-promise and over-deliver.

"I don’t have enough pens for everyone, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how kind they are. I’ll see students—when it’s not technically their turn to use the pens—helping others." Share

They needn’t have worried: although neither did much self-promotion to push their projects forward, anonymous donors from across the country were still willing to contribute to their cause. “Someone called Jacob donated, and I literally have no idea who it is,” Blair said, adding that someone else from the District of Columbia donated with a gift card. “Most of these people are people I don’t know.” Connie has had a similar experience—one of her donors left a comment saying that she was also a special education teacher and that she understood the need for something like 3Doodler in the classroom.

All in all, for Connie and Blair the 3Doodler pens have gotten off to a great start in their classrooms, an achievement that wouldn’t have been possible without incredible platforms like DonorsChoose.org, their vision for including innovative new tools in their schools, and the unwavering support of all the project donors out there.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

10 Things to Love About the 3Doodler Start

Introducing the 3Doodler Start, the world’s first truly kid-safe 3D printing pen! We love the newest addition to the 3Doodler family. Simple to use, the 3Doodler Start makes creating easy, engaging, and fun! Here’s 10 reasons why we think you’ll love the Start too…

1. Totally Touchable

The 3Doodler Start has no exposed hot parts, which means no risks of burnt fingers! Not only that, our amazing Eco-Plastic melts at super low temperatures, so it comes out of the pen at a totally touchable temperature.

2. Wonderfully Wireless

With the 3Doodler Start, you can Doodle anywhere, anytime! Charge it up and get 45-60 minutes of Doodle-tastic wireless use.

3. Ready to Reboot

Make your old toys last longer with Doodled repairs made with the 3Doodler Start. Doodle a new head or costume for an action figure, a ramp for toy cars to jump, or create entire scenes and accessories for imaginative fun!

4. Helpfully Hands-on

The 3Doodler Start’s incredible Eco-Plastic is easy to mold and shape before it hardens into a permanent form. Get your Doodles looking exactly how you want them by fine tuning with your fingertips!

5. Without Waste

Our Eco-Plastic is entirely environmentally friendly (hence the name!) and will decompose in your back yard or in any household compost! Mother Earth, you’re welcome!

6. So, So Simple

The 3Doodler Start has one temperature, one speed setting, and one button. Simply turn it on, insert a strand, and start Doodling!

7. Engaging Education

With the hands-on help of the 3Doodler Start, kids can develop the skills needed for design, planning, building, and spatial understanding!

8. DoodleBlocks for Building

Kids will love using the new 3Doodler Start DoodleBlocks to create beautiful, accurate Doodles across a range of themes.

9. Extending Exploration

One plastic strand of our Eco-Plastic can make Doodles up to 10 times its original length. How many Doodles can you make?

10. Undeniably Unique

In case you missed it, the 3Doodler Start is the first 3D printing pen that’s truly safe for kids aged 8+.

The 3Doodler Start is available now from our online store along with a full range of DoodleBlock kits, accessories and Eco-Plastics.

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