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.

Falling for Frank Lloyd Wright

The father of organic architecture turns 150 years old in June. The impact of interior designer, architect, writer, and educator, Frank Lloyd Wright can still be seen today.

Having designed over 1,000 structures in his lifetime, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright has made a lasting impact on architecture and design. In celebration of his 150th birthday, we are pleased to present a new 3Doodler Create Project Kit for Wright’s signature example of organic architecture, Fallingwater.

Celebrating 150 Years

With 532 completed structures over the span of a 70-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright has become an icon of American architecture. Twelve of his buildings are listed amongst Architectural Record’s hundred most important buildings of the century.

"We are all here to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Wright firmly believed that architecture was “the mother of all the arts,” and approached each design with this intensity of conviction. His aim to was to reflect the landscape, people, culture, and feel of America within his own designs and architecture.

With dramatic new shapes and designs, Wright developed what he called “organic architecture”, representing what he saw as the harmonious connection of the citizens of the United States with both each other, and to the land they call home. As such, his homes center around shared spaces such as the dining table, music rooms, and terraces to encourage a sense of community and closeness to both family and nature.

Fallingwater

None of Wright’s structures reflects the harmony between architecture and nature better than Fallingwater.

"The making of a good building, the harmonious building, one adapted to its purposes and to life, [is] a blessing to life and a gracious element added to life, is a great moral performance."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Constructed between 1936 and 1939, the residence was designed for the Kaufmann family in southwest Pennsylvania. Stretching over a 30-foot waterfall, the house is a shining example of Wright’s commitment to a unique architectural design that integrates family life with natural surroundings.

While the Kaufmanns had requested a house with a view of the waterfall, Wright wanted them to instead live with the water itself, and to make the falls an integral part of their everyday life. His organic design was detailed down to the colors, with only two distinct colors used in the final building, both tied closely to the materials used—the light ochre of the concrete, and Wright’s own signature Cherokee red on the steel.

Since Fallingwater first opened its doors to the public in 1964, over 4.5 million visitors have come to see Wright’s architectural masterpiece first-hand.

Recreating a Piece of History

To honor this National Historic Landmark and icon of organic architecture, 3Doodler is pleased to present a unique Fallingwater theme kit for 3Doodler Create.

In collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Fallingwater floor plans, so anyone can create Wright’s masterpiece in miniature scale. The kit also includes a visual step-by-step guide and four packs of ABS plastic to replicate the exact colors of the original structure. Learn more about the the making of this kit here.

Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday by recreating one of the most powerful pieces of American architecture. Sign up for notifications on the release of this new kit at the3Doodler.com.

Home is What You Create

“Change. Change is always hard, but good,” explains Leah Wyman, Head of EDU at 3Doodler. “I think mentally preparing for the stress and struggles and accepting that they will come but be worth it is key.”

The 3Doodler team knows a thing or two about change. With nine nationalities represented across our team, most of 3Doodler knows what it’s like to create a new life and find home in a different country.

Leah has called many countries home. She’s lived and worked in Germany, Iceland, Jamaica, Canada, and the Netherlands, and has now returned to the USA to join 3Doodler in our New York office.

In each place she has found ways create a sense of home, the same as many members of our team.

Daniel Cowen, Co-President and COO of 3Doodler, is a UK native who has lived in over six countries. “You start to look forward and work out how changes in your life will fit with the place you are in,” he explains. “In short, it’s about adapting, which at first is about friends, and eventually is about the deeper meaning of ‘home’.”

That deeper meaning and personal concept of “home” can mean something different to everyone, but in the end it all comes back to the basic senses. When finding familiarity, we rely on what we can see, feel, smell, touch, and perhaps most importantly, taste.

Food creates a strong sense of cultural identity, and is a major aspect of what we consider part of home. The smells and tastes of our childhood are often what connect us the strongest to that sense of nostalgia we associate with home.

"Like many people, taste and smells always trigger my best memories. I do my best to try and recreate my mom’s classic dishes." Share

“The first thing I try and do when I move to a new country is find the best Indian restaurant,” says 3Doodler Creative Director Faraz Warsi. Faraz holds Canadian citizenship, but still identifies closely with his Indian heritage. Having lived in the Middle East, India, Canada, Hong Kong, and the USA, he’s used to the shuffle and change of relocation. “They call us Third Culture Kids,” he says. “Identity crisis is sometimes more fitting.”

But through various countries and continents, Faraz has discovered a sense of home can always be found in the kitchen. “Like many people, taste and smells always trigger my best memories,” he says. “I do my best to try and recreate some of my mom’s classic dishes—the keyword being ‘try’. Sadly it’s never as good.”

Erin Song, 3Doodler Junior Designer, shares the same sentiment. A South Korean national who grew up in Hong Kong, Erin now works in the 3Doodler New York office. “In all honesty, I really miss the food,” she says. “I incorporate the food I would eat in Hong Kong by cooking a familiar dish whenever I feel homesick.”

“I am what I eat,” agrees 3Doodler E-Commerce Manager Jim Toernqvist, who emigrated from Sweden to join the 3Doodler team. “Sweden is very much a part of what I consider good in the culinary world.” Jim says he brings a bit of “home” into his new life by creating meals that remind him of Sweden. “Swedish cuisine is mostly simple and quick to make; my dinners are something to look forward to.”

But as Daniel said, change is all about adaptation. While the smells and tastes of home inspire nostalgia and make us feel more at ease in a new place, soon new foods become familiar and start to create a new sense of what it means to feel at home.

3Doodler Marketing Director Kelley Toy is a New Zealand native who now lives in Hong Kong. She says the new foods and tastes were the first things she found herself incorporating into her everyday life.

“Asian food is a pleasure to explore and experience,” she says, “and the convenience, all-hours availability and on-demand nature of food in Asia is something that is easy to adopt.”

But creating a sense of home doesn’t begin and end with what you eat, of course. Whether we’re aware of it or not, what we see every day ends up creating a pattern that we associate with home.

“For New Zealand, it’s a specific color palette combining sky, water, sand or dried grass, and green pastures,” says Kelley. “It’s a unique color palette that you don’t see anywhere else so I can always pick a New Zealand sky or landscape from these colors.”

“Yellow and blue is always my association with Sweden,” says Jim. “It’s the colors of the Swedish flag, and IKEA.”

“Grass. Green manicured grass,” says Dan. “It’s calm, trimmed, reliable, and there’s so much access to it through the incredible parks of London, which are what I miss most.”

“I really don’t want to sound cliché, but Chinatown really reminds me of home,” says Erin. “New York’s Chinatown has a very similar architecture and essence to the old areas of Hong Kong.”

For most of us who have moved our lives abroad, the concept of home is often oddly combined with reminders of change. Both become part of daily life as we continue to adapt and create something new.

Sometimes all it takes is one building to remind us of this. “When it comes to New York, it’s all about the Empire State building,” says Erin. “As much as I love the Chrysler building, the Empire State Building is the building I see every day when I walk to and from work. It is a constant reminder of how much my life has changed.”

3Doodler: Disruption & Reinvention Four Years On

Disruption is a word we hear more and more. Uber disrupted transportation, Airbnb changed the way millions of people book accommodation the world over, and social media has altered the way we interact with everything from friends to news. This theme of disruption and reinvention lives at the core of 3Doodler, a company that is built on the strength of our community and your never-ending support for our work.

As we hit our pen’s fourth birthday, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate with four stories of disruption and reinvention that made our journey possible, many of which started with you!

From one disruptive technology to another

3Doodler began with a mistake—a 3D print gone wrong. Back in 2012 we were a two-man band, inventing toys—anything that could be a hit—and licensing them to much bigger companies. Our go-to tool for creating new concepts was our 3D printer, an invention which is still disrupting industries large and small. The printer we were using missed a line in our print, leaving a glaring hole in our latest model. The print would have been unusable, wasting valuable time and materials.

That’s when inspiration hit: what if we just took the head of the printer off and filled in the gap?

And so, unexpectedly, disruption bred yet more disruption. The 3Doodler was born.

Community-led disruption

We had the idea, but without a community of users it would have ended there. Enter Kickstarter, and our community of visionary early adopters. Relying on the power of the internet, and our hope that you would recognize the potential of the 3Doodler (or just want to have fun with it!), we launched our campaign.

The result was one of the most-funded technology Kickstarters of all time, and a 25,000-strong community to join this amazing journey. A decade ago we would have been asking for money, pleading with retailers to take a chance on us, and most likely seen our dream end in disappointment. With community-led crowdfunding, this paradigm has been turned entirely upside down.

More than a passing fad

Disruption is only good until it is disrupted itself. We have made it a mission to ensure that whatever comes next, it comes from us. Most importantly, while we’re on our way there, we’ll do all we can to keep you engaged and inspired.

That very much speaks to our focus on growing a vibrant and engaged community (more on that soon!) as well as the wide product universe we have created around 3Doodler—ensuring you have every color of plastic you could need, as well as all kinds of accessories to help bring your ideas to life. Now with three pens in our product range—the 3Doodler Start, Create, and PRO—there is a pen for everyone, ages 8 through 80, hobbyist or professional, and we’re not stopping there!

Taking “toy” to 3D

A special mention to the 3Doodler Start, the little pen that could. Three years in the making, and as a newcomer to the highly competitive toy market, we wanted to get this one really right.

To do that we had to develop our own plastic, stubbornly insisting that it be biodegradable, and melt at impossibly low temperatures. We were also going up against a growing tide of tech-connected toys with a pen that is entirely (and proudly) “unconnected”.

The result was amazing, with the award-winning Start kicking butt at retail, and our whole team glowing at the amazing things made by our new community of young creators. Bye bye screens, hello drawing in 3D!

It’s humbling to stand here after four years, with an amazing team of over 30 talented people around us, on course to hit our millionth pen in the next few weeks. Thank you all for helping us on this journey, and we hope to provide many more disruptions in the years to come.

Sincerely and with thanks,

Max, Dan & Pete

Co-founders, 3Doodler

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