Learning how to learn with 3Doodler Learning Packs

Recently we had the opportunity to interview Oletha Walker of JFK Elementary School, and Blair Cochran of Melrose High School, both of whom use the 3Doodler Learning Packs in their classrooms.

Upon first glance, Oletha and Blair’s classrooms are quite different. Oletha Walker is a charismatic Challenge Resource and Project learning teacher of a young and dynamic group of students from grades 3-5. Her class is all about getting messy and having fun while learning. Blair Cochran is an outstanding high school Science teacher, with an ambitious group of students who are passionate about the subject. He leads his students to delve deeper into a topic, to ensure they truly understand it. Despite their differences, they have one thing is common: both classrooms enjoy hands-on learning experiences.

Visualizing concepts in 3D with Oletha’s class

Oletha is a strong believer in the benefits of hands-on learning to help engage both the left and right side of the brain. She believes it encourages trial and error, embracing and learning from mistakes, and trying again.

With the 3Doodler Start Learning Pack, Oletha’s students are able to put their thoughts into something that’s visual and tangible.

This is not new to them, as Oletha’s classroom is equipped with a traditional 3D printer – which sounds very cool. In practice however, Oletha found herself having to sit next to the printer to keep the students away from it due to its heat warnings. Her students could only standby and wait for a single print to be shared with the whole class.

“The 3Doodler frees up time” – Oletha

"This little tool is a game changer. I have seen students that usually have low motivation come to life when they have this tool in their hands. It does not matter what their learning abilities are, anyone can successfully use this tool."-Oletha Share

Ever since introducing the 3Doodler to her class, every student has access to their own tool and is able to quickly and easily create their own item. There is no concern over anyone being injured, because the pens’ tips don’t reach high temperatures. Now Oletha has the freedom to circle around the class, guiding, monitoring, and giving feedback. More of her lesson plans can be accomplished because the students are able to work quickly and analyze and revise their designs before class time is over, as there is no downtime waiting for the printer to complete the layering. “As we all know, there is never enough time in one class to accomplish all that you would want,” Oletha commented.

Design, Build, Modify

In one of her classes, Oletha’s students were tasked with designing their own aquaponics system that could be used in someone’s apartment. Traditionally, a lesson like this would be limited to drawings, but with the 3Doodler, this lesson went to a whole new dimension. Her students were able to demonstrate their ideas more accurately with their 3D designs, make needed modifications, and build discourse around what they were designing.

What’s next?

For the next school year, Oletha is excited to have the entire school reimagine their town. Each person will imagine a futuristic version of their town and then create a model using the 3Doodler. This will be displayed so visitors to the school can see how the students envision their town to become.

Exploring and testing new learnings in Blair’s class

A typical lesson in Blair’s class goes like this: the class discusses the new topic for 10 minutes, then actively explores that topic further (which can take on a bunch of different formats), followed by some reading up and videos to strengthen their understanding of it. Blair likes to break down the topics into bite-sized chunks so the students can focus on a single understanding and how it is linked to other ideas.

What Blair’s students love the most about using the 3Doodler is the ability to physically create what they have pictured in their mind. When it comes to exploring a new topic, the students are able to ‘sketch’ their understanding of it and test it out. Moreover, Blair appreciates how easy the students have found this tool is to use.

"There was very little start up time. All my students were using the pens successfully within a couple of minutes."-Blair Share

Connecting the dots

During a lesson on circuits, students used the 3Doodler to create 3D models of voltage in a circuit. Blair has found that students typically struggle conceptually with this unit. What Blair has done for years is draw the circuit and have the students draw the 3D images of the voltage. With the 3Doodler, the students were able to physically create these plots instead. “I believe that the ability to create these models gave the students a new way to access the concept, and thus provided more students a pathway to learning,” Blair commented.

What’s next?

For the next school year, Blair is looking forward to incorporating the 3Doodler Learning Packs into the school’s MakerSpace and more of his classroom units.

Interested in our EDU Learning Packs?

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We want to say a huge thank you to both Oletha and Blair, for graciously welcoming our team into their classes. We had such a great time and were overjoyed to see the students using the 3Doodler and having fun with it.

Introducing the new 3Doodler EDU Learning Packs

Anyone who is familiar with the 3Doodler brand will recognize that our Purpose is to inspire and enable everyone to create. As a tactile tool, there’s a natural fit of our product in learning Art & Design, STEM, and other academic disciplines, corroborated by the growing demand from classrooms over the last few years. To continue to meet students’ learning needs, it’s important for us to constantly improve our EDU products and ensure the best possible classroom experience for our users.

A first glance of our Learning Packs

Designed with teachers, for their classrooms

We have spent countless hours working on the redesigned Learning Packs, with the outcome of an easier, better experience for teachers and their student users. Finally, with the launch of these products today, we’d like to share the thinking behind the new design!

All our 3D pens are made to be as simple and easy to learn as possible, avoiding obstacles between a user and their ability to create. This quality had to be carried through every aspect of the new EDU Learning Pack product experience, from the moment the teacher and students open their boxes, to when they make their first doodle. And what better way to truly understand the needs of teachers and students in the classroom, than to ask teachers?

3 Design Thinking Pillars

After numerous consultations with teachers who use the 3Doodler, it became clear to us that there were 3 consistent themes in what they were looking for:

Simple to understand

“If they don’t use it, lose it.” The first step to making our Learning Packs more valuable, was by removing components that don’t add value for teachers. We took out what they thought was least useful in the EDU Bundle, making room for more items, such as education-specific learning materials and robust containers.

With the contents that remained, we redesigned the creatives, the wording, and the overall layout, to make the information more clear, concise, and easily digestible. We also learned that teachers and students find it easier to process images rather than words alone, so we added more visual examples, and less text, in our guides.

Efficient use of time

Teachers are busy people. Finding the time to plan a new lesson is a challenge, let alone to introduce a whole new way of enabling student learning. To overcome this, we had to find a solution that helped teachers save time – before, during, and after the class. An important component in saving time for teachers was to make the Learning Packs extremely accessible to students, so that they could take charge of their own learning journey with 3Doodler.

"Students can help themselves to their own pens and accessories, and grab plastics from the huge assortment available in the Plastics Kit." Share

The new Learning Pack contains a Teachers’ Kit, Students’ Kits, and a Plastic Kit. Before class, the teacher can familiarize him/herself with the Teachers’ Kit, which comes with a checklist of items to go through, a cheatsheet, and lesson plans and activity guides. During the lesson, the class can refer to a specially designed poster (included in the Learning Pack) on doodling basics. A troubleshooting guide and set of tools is also available for quick fixes. By creating multiple easy-to-grab Student Kits, students can help themselves to their own pens and accessories, and grab plastics from the huge assortment available in the Plastics Kit.

Separating out the kits this way makes the material management easier for the teacher. They no longer need to spend time on distributing the tools and figuring out all the components, eliminating confusion and chances of errors. Student teams will also appreciate a sense of ownership over their own kits! After the lesson, students simply have to return all materials into their compartments, ready for the next class.

Friendly and intuitive to all

The Activity Guide and free lesson plans, tutorials, and stencils on our website have all been designed with teachers, and with the aim to inspire everyone to create, no matter their age or artistic ability. Building a dinosaur fossil may appear overly ambitious, but not if you have a stencil you could print and use. A roller coaster model seems impossible to make? Not if you can follow a step-by-step guide.

There are ideas for everyone, and limitless things to create, play with, and learn from. All it takes is to start.

Check out our new Learning Packs here

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