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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Think Like A Doodler

The other day, my fifth-grade students were brainstorming problem-solving technologies for future homes. Hands immediately flew up in the air. “Robots that wash dishes!” “Robots that walk your dog.” “Robots that do your homework.” I finally had to stem the tide of robotic responses with a reminder that these things already exist.

I challenged students to think beyond what they’ve read and seen to come up with their own ideas. “Think like a Doodler!” I told them! My students immediately understood the meaning of this directive, because doodling has been at the heart of so many of our classroom activities. Through their doodling experiences, my students have learned the following:

Doodling is Inquiry-Based

We always begin doodling by posing a question or problem. This is followed by a design process that paves the way to new learning. Within this format, the teacher serves as the guide, while students take the lead, doodling their ideas, testing them, improving them and retesting them in a fun, motivating fashion. Problems spawn solutions.

Doodling to Connect The Dots

Doodling is a physical experience that taps into prior learning while building neural pathways. I call this “connective learning,” because doodling bridges the old with the new, conflating the two into sparkling innovations. Doodlers know that great ideas come from thinking across experiences. Leonardo Da Vinci would have made a great doodler in the way he stemmed the tides of disciplines, like anatomy, geology, and mathematics in his inventions.

One Doodle in a Million

Doodles come in all different shapes and sizes. There has never been (and never will be) a one-size-fits-all approach to doodling in our room. Students are amazed at the range of solutions generated by their peers when given a doodle-design challenge. Doodling is an open-ended way of thinking that encourages a vast array of opinions and perspectives nurturing a growing bank of possibilities.

Empathic-Doodlers

Doodling enhances thought through feelings. Doodlers are receptive to the needs of others, connecting in ways that go beyond words. When you doodle, you open your heart to different perspectives, cultures, and ways of being. Characteristics like kindness and compassion not only generate ideas, they enhance our world.

For students to think like Doodlers, teachers must allow them the freedom to expand their frame of mind, nurturing a new language of invention that embraces doodles of all shapes, sizes, and color. Doodlers know that great ideas result from a diversity of lines and textures, awakening our creative spirit.

So, when was the last time you encouraged your students to think like a Doodler?

Julia Dweck is a public school teacher who works with students in grades K-5, focusing on the importance of creative and open-ended thinking. Julia is the 2016 winner of the Da Vinci Science Award for her innovative integration of technology in the classroom.

She serves as a school resource and exemplar for inventive implementation of the arts and sciences. Julia encourages her students, friends, and peers to take risks, whenever possible, in order to grow. Follow her on Twitter @GiftedTawk

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.

Making Physics Physical

What is the best way to learn the physics behind bridges? By building one.

To build a functional bridge, it’s important to have a strong backing in the basics of physics, Newton’s Laws, the properties of matter, and other rules and facts that describe our world—but it can be hard to see how they all work together at the same time. The best way to learn about bridges is to build them. And that’s just what they do in Glenn Couture’s class.

Getting the Drop on Science

Couture teaches Honors and AP physics at a high school in Norwalk, Connecticut. During the school year he guides students through a wide range of topics that make up physics. These include kinematics, the relationship between work, power and energy, waveforms, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electricity and light.

Glenn Couture creates physics models using the 3Doodler Create.

A key part of teaching these topics is taking abstract descriptions of how physics work, and letting students experience them first hand.

"Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board." Share

Getting through those disparate topics can take a good chunk of time, but Couture caps off many of the units with physical projects. These let students apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-world problem, demonstrating that they haven’t just learned information, but they have an understanding of how to use it.

We gave Couture a 3Doodler Create and asked him to come up with exciting ways he could incorporate it into his lesson plans. One of the first things he looked at was the classic “egg drop” experiment.

Extreme Packaging

“In the current rendition of the egg drop, the students are only allowed to use plastic drinking straws, any sort as long as there’s no paper on them, masking tape, and one raw, uncooked, uncoated, unpainted egg. The idea is to have the egg land without breaking,” Couture said.

When it comes to the actual design of the project, he has only one limitation: “It has to fit through the door of the classroom. I’ve had students come close with that depending on how many straws they’re using.” The eggs and their straw enclosures are then brought to the school’s roof and dropped 55 feet to the ground. Only those students who have eggs survive the fall receive an A.

A prototype of a Doodled egg cage.

Couture wants to attempt a variation on that project using the 3Doodler, with some new constraints. “This could be done on a smaller scale, directly in the classroom,” Couture said while examining a prototype 3Doodler egg cage. “I don’t think that it could work the full distance of 55 feet, but 16 or 18 feet would work.”

He envisions a second round of testing, while providing only a limited number of rods to students. This would add a component of “cost effectiveness” to the project. In the real world, engineers often have limited materials to work with, and need to find ways to balance competing goals.

“We had a chance to visit with the packaging engineers at a [cookie manufacturer] where they have to package things to be in trucks and things like that. So there’s that application of what they learn in the egg-drop, where they keep a product from breaking up, but we can also go bigger and look at the failed Mars Climate Orbiter of the 90’s where the probe was lost because of an error translating metric and imperial units.” Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board.

Model Atomic Behavior

Other projects that Couture was able to develop during his time with the 3Doodler include more illustrative of processes in physics. He built a prototype model of a side-face molecule placement crystal.

A Doodled visualization of molecules in a crystal lattice.

“In chemistry, solids form crystals,” he explained while showing off the cube, a helpful tool for visualizing the relationship between molecules in a crystal lattice.

"I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa." Share

The 3Doodler offers an advantage for these models by producing long lasting models which illustrate the stability of various crystal types. Couture said that he would like to let groups of students work on different crystals and build up a collection of varieties over time.

“I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa,” Couture added. He feels that the 3Doodler is a unique opportunity to bridge that gap, as well as more literal ones.

Building Bridges

Another physical project that Couture’s students engage in is called “Quakertown.” Students create buildings out of folded paper that must withstand both the addition of weights and a mechanically shaken table to simulate both static and dynamic loads.

A Doodled Parker Truss bridge.

Students in his classes could one day create bridges using the 3Doodler to understand the how these complex structures operate, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of different designs.

"On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis, but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis." Share

Couture put together a Parker Truss bridge, using a template from online. He chose the design because its gentle curve would be hard to replicate using other craft methods. However, Couture felt the 3Doodler was easily up to the task, especially after he had cut his teeth putting together other projects.

Teaching in 3 Dimensions

The last of the four samples he produced was a model of the orbitals which describe where electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom might be found.

A Doodled orbital model.

“On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis,” Couture explained as he put the finishing touches on the model, “but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis.”

After spending some time exploring the possibilities of the 3Doodler, Couture describes himself as interested in finding even more uses for the tool. It opens up unique opportunities to explore the world of physics. And those opportunities extend beyond his own classroom.

“My wife teaches seventh and eighth grade science, and she’s interested in it too. They do a bridge project using toothpicks and glue. The problem with that is it takes so long for the glue to set but this is practically instant.”

New STEM fields are emerging all the time, and rising to those challenges will require a mixture of hands-on experience, creativity, and intuitive knowledge. Couture’s time with the 3Doodler has shown just a few ways that it can help provide just that.

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.

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.”

5 Careers That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

Technology is changing the world, sometimes faster than education can keep up! With new career options developing, students now have a wider selection than ever before.

We believe in the importance of getting kids used to new tech and educational advancements early on. After all, this is what will shape the landscape for future career and job possibilities later on.

This week, we take a look at five new in-demand career options for STEM and tech-savvy students to consider.

Genetic Counselor

One field that has seen great benefits from new advancements in technology is medicine. New understandings of genetics and the data now available has opened up specialized opportunities for jobs that would have sounded like science fiction not too long ago.

Genetic Counselling can cover everything from cancer treatments to prenatal care and family planning. Some Genetic Counselors even specialize in specific fields like cardiology, neurology, or fertility.

Counselors look at each individual patient’s genetics, and examine the data to try and predict and prevent medical disorders. But the main part of the job, of course, is the patient. Genetic Counselors need to know how to connect and support each patient, and help explain the complicated medical side of things in ways that are easy to understand.

To be a Genetic Counselor, you’d need a Master’s degree in genetics, and likely would also need some certification in counselling as well. For students who love science and data, but are also very people-focused, this would be a perfect field to explore.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

The job title alone seems daunting, but the actual job is less scary than it sounds. This is another new field that has sprung up alongside technological advancements in medicine—specifically all the new machinery that modern medicine relies on.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists operate all specialized medical equipment, like CT and PET scanners, gamma cameras, and other imaging tools used to help diagnose medical issues. The technologists need to know how to care for and operate the machines, a vital task considering how closely technology and medicine are tied.

And as medical technology continues to grow and improve, so will this career field. Continual developments and innovation means a need for technologists who understand and can work alongside doctors and patients to help reach a diagnosis.

The job doesn’t require a medical degree, but does take good interpersonal skills and attention to detail, as the machines are often delicate and complicated. An interest in robots and engineering is important, and there are accreditation programs available for students looking to enter this field.

Sustainability Manager

When it comes to business, everyone knows it’s all about the green. No, we’re not talking about money! The new trend for businesses is environmentalism and sustainability, and more and more companies are realizing that going green is the way forward.

That’s where Sustainability Managers come in. This role means making sure a company is doing all it can to enforce the most environmentally-friendly practices possible, but at the best price for the company. This takes a lot of creativity, and excellent communication skills to get everyone on board and make your ideas a reality.

And it’s not just companies that are looking to fill this new role. Everything from corporations to universities, and even large cities need Sustainability Managers to create long-term plans to help them go—and stay—green.

A degree in Environmental Science and a passion for saving the planet is the way to go for students interested in pursuing a career in this field.

Drone Operator

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles sounds more like a code name for flying saucers rather than a new career field. But UAVs and drones are flying us into the future, with major companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook looking to expand their drone teams.

Drone Operators are in high demand, and for a large variety of purposes. While Amazon is looking to expand drone use for package delivery, news and media companies are looking for operators with more artistic talent to capture aerial footage in photos and videos.

For this new job field, the sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities. Some experts expect drones to be used in everything from agriculture to public safety, oil and gas exploration, and even in the film industry.

Some universities are already beginning to offer specialized courses in drone operation and manufacturing, but as it’s still a new field there are a lot of different backgrounds that students can explore. Drone Operators should have an interest in robotics and engineering, but can supplement this with skills in photography and videography, or other personal passions and interests.

Data Miner

What’s more precious that rubies and diamonds? Data—for companies, at least. In our new digital age, customer information and behavioral patterns are crucial for businesses to stay on top of the game, and they need experts to make sense of all the data they collect.

Data Miners help companies deal with “Big Data”. They predict future trends based on current and past consumer behavior, all extracted from the world of data that businesses collect. Everything from transactions to complaints and even social media reviews gets picked through by Data Miners to find patterns and make sense of it all.

And there’s plenty of related jobs within this data-driven career field. Digital Marketing and Social Media Management are new roles that are also becoming increasingly necessary as consumers take to online platforms for everything from shopping to costumer service. Businesses are finding that having an online presence is vital, and they need people familiar with how social media works in order to get the job done.

As a brand new field, there are lots of educational paths students can take if they’re interested in a Data Mining or other digital careers. A degree in Library Sciences is great for Data Miners, while a background in marketing or writing is useful for other jobs within the social sphere.

For students looking for new career opportunities, imagination is really the only limit. We are constantly seeing new fields open up, often in places we never even thought of.

And of course, students always have the option to invent something completely new! After all, the 3Doodler didn’t even exist five years ago.

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: 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.

From Classroom Dreams to Community Donations

In November 2016, 3Doodler joined with DonorsChoose.org to help make tactile tech a reality for classrooms across the USA.

Our pledge was to match each donation to projects requesting a 3Doodler EDU Bundle, dollar for dollar. We’re always looking for ways to encourage hands-on learning and tactile methods for teaching, and there’s no better way to do that than through the requests of teachers themselves.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be going into the classrooms that had their 3Doodler EDU projects fully funded through our matching campaign. We’ll speak with the teachers, and get an inside look at the difference DonorsChoose.org and 3Doodler has made.

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.

How tactile technology can help those with learning disabilities

One (teaching) size fits all? Experienced educators know that’s not how it works— especially when it comes to teaching students with learning disabilities. Not every student responds well to traditional, classroom-based teaching methods, and what makes one student’s eyes light up in understanding, might leave another as confused as they were before the start of class.

One in five children and adults in the US are affected by learning or attention issues, and approximately 8% of children aged 3-17 are reported as having been diagnosed with a learning disorder. While personalized learning for those with learning disabilities might be the ideal, adapting teaching methods to individuals can be difficult in a large classroom, and teachers don’t want students with learning disabilities to feel singled out.

Moving towards tactile technology

Many teachers are turning to tactile learning and evolving technologies as a way to engage students across different learning styles and needs. As part of a multi-sensory learning approach, tactile technology can help students across a range of skill development areas and a broad range of subjects. Such an approach is especially helpful for students with learning difficulties like dyslexia and similar impairments such as dyscalculia and dysgraphia—which affect math and writing understanding and abilities.

Assistive technology that plays to the student’s strengths and works around their challenges has already been making its presence known in the classroom—from interactive white boards, to the more recent addition of 3D printers.

More schools for students with learning disabilities are embracing technology, and makerspace tech like 3D printers, cameras and robotics kits can now be found in educational facilities across the USA and around the world. The results are clear: hands-on learning with physical tools helps students to understand ideas and concepts that are otherwise hard to grasp, enables interest in industries related to technology, and can be particularly effective in cultivating interest in STEM subjects. And there’s plenty of successful examples of this in practice.

The Benefits of Hands-on Learning

Tactile teaching—using physical, demonstrative, auditory or visual objects—can help keep students engaged and helps them focus their minds on the present. Tech that encourages people to physically be involved like the Raspberry Pi, 3D printers, and of course 3Doodler bring a new or relatively unexplored aspect of learning into the classroom.

Students who struggle with ADHD may vastly prefer tactile learning methods over auditory or visual learning styles. Having to create a diorama or a model might mean students understand better than if they were asked to simply imagine a spatial arrangement, the concept of geometry, or complex equations in their head. "When students are given the tools to physically create a model, they can see exactly how all the parts come together to function as a whole." ShareAsking a student to create a model of the Eiffel Tower, for example, demands much more due diligence than just getting them to sketch it out. It may be difficult for someone who has dyslexia or ADD to concentrate long enough on understanding why the tower’s structural integrity relies on many different factors, but physical tools would help engage them enough to grasp why certain shapes work better than others, how math factors into construction, and why some materials work better than others.

Teachers have found that using tactile teaching methods in subjects like biology can reap better results than when students are asked only to visualise a concept. When students are given the tools to physically create a model of a cell, for example, they can see exactly how all the parts come together to function as a whole. Consider if students who have dysgraphia are asked to explain why a beetle looks the way it does—if they can create their own beetle and physically point out why it has adapted to its environment, they stand a better chance of being able to contribute to a class discussion than if they are forced to fall back on writing it out.

Dyslexic students, who may have visual or auditory deficiencies, may find that they excel when they apply tactile or kinesthetic methods to their learning. People who have trouble reading words, letters or numbers could benefit from creative solutions such as making their own words, letters or numbers (handy for those with dyscalculia) on plastic blocks helps them process sequences or equations better.

Across the board, in subjects that range from the arts to hard sciences, tactile technology has proven tremendously beneficial. When it comes to adapting for students with learning disabilities, it’s time to put down those pens and pencils and pick up a tool of a different sort. With new tactile tech, your students can have their hands (quite literally) full with tools to help them grasp the practical skills and knowledge that comes from innovative learning.

Get out there, and be creative. Your students will thank you for it.

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.

Design Thinking at 3Doodler

“Why don’t you add Bluetooth? Or have an app? Or put more sensors in it? You can get in the Apple Store!”. But that wasn’t what we were doing, or what 3Doodler is about. Sure it’s tempting to adapt a product and add bells and whistles so that you can sell even more, but at what cost?

What we sacrificed was being able to say we were part of the Internet of things. What we gained was the ability for anyone, tech savvy or not, young or old, smartphone equipped or not, to use our pens.

The idea of a 3D pen is such a new and unexpected concept that it needed to be as simple and easy to learn as possible. A tactile experience, just like using a pen or a pencil.

We’ve stayed true to that philosophy for over four years, and even with the release of the 3Doodler PRO, our most advanced product, it’s all about getting tactile, and eradicating any barriers that might exist between a user and their ability to create what they want.

"It’s about connecting you and your movements with the pen, and there’s no better way to do that than with your hands"-Howard Share

If anything we’ve been on a mission to make our products even simpler, not more complex; and not more connected or virtual. For example, the PRO has dials where it could have had switches (or an app that communicates with the pen). As a user gently turns those dials the pen responds, raising the speed or the temperature the same way one would gently nudge up the volume on a sound system. It’s about connecting you and your movements with the pen, and there’s no better way to do that than letting people get hands on.

That same tactile experience has also driven much of what we do in education. Back in 2014 we started to work with teachers for the blind and partially sighted, using our pens to draw instant tactile learning aids. In 2015 we ran a case study with a UK-based school and found, conclusively, that the tactile experience of using the 3Doodler gave visual learners a welcome leg-up in class.

Now with the kid-safe 3Doodler Start, which is completely cool to the touch, the scope for getting hands on has jumped another level. Users can touch and mould their Doodles the instant they come out of the pen – and those same blind and partially sighted students now have a pen they can use safely without any concerns about hot plastic.

So while the world is putting iPads in front of kids, or trying to connect everything to the big wide web, we’re putting down the screens and asking you to pick up, feel and craft; to rediscover what you can do with your hands in an unvirtual reality. We’re using the power of touch – and not the screen – to take you back to an era (not that long ago!) when creativity and play meant doing something with your hands.

And it’s working. As we near 2017 we’ll be marking our millionth 3Doodler, with users creating everything from curricular aids, to architectural replicas, 3Doodled dresses and cars, as well as art that is being proudly displayed in galleries worldwide. That’s a staggering win for the tactile, and the reason we’ll always strive for simple and accessible rather than overly-complicated.

Written by Daniel Cowen, Co-Founder & COO

A Model Town from a Model Classroom

We often discuss the classroom applications for 3Doodler in STEM subjects, or as a way for students to learn about emerging technologies. But the educational benefits of 3Doodler aren’t just restricted to math and science, as English teacher Eva Reilly shows.

Reilly challenged her high school English class to make a model of their home town – Phillips, Wisconsin – as a way to inspire proper research and learn how to find reliable and trustworthy sources.

The class constructed their eight-foot model of the downtown street as part of their non-fiction unit in their English curriculum. And as with any non-fiction project, the first step is research.

“They read and wrote reviews of articles, memoirs, letters from books, newspapers, periodicals, and the internet about Phillips,” says Reilly.

The students took note of notable historical events that had affected the town, and shaped how it looked – like the Phillips Fire of 1894.

This fire swept through the entire downtown area the students were recreating, levelling many of the original structures. In the rebuilding efforts, the major buildings were required to be made from brick as a fire-safety measure.

"History is not just about events of way back in the day; it is the making of our past, present, and future" Share

Knowing the history and events which resulted in how the town currently looks gave new meaning to the construction of the model. “After learning about the history of Phillips and its development, students picked business buildings downtown to reconstruct on a scale model,” Reilly says. “They didn’t realize how difficult the project would be at first.”

Students visited the buildings in person, taking photos to use in the construction of their model to make sure they could be as accurate as possible. They also talked to residents with first-hand knowledge of the buildings’ histories and how they had been renovated throughout the years, all while keeping notes in fieldwork journals to chronicle the project.

To create the models, Reilly introduced some cross-subject integration by having the student figure out the correct dimensions for each building using algebra and geometry. “They learned we need math in everything we do, not just in the classroom,” Reilly says. “Sometimes, quite frankly, they were confused as to whether they were in math, science, history, or English class, but the process sure kept them engaged!”

Using 3Doodler pens, the students got to work constructing their model town. They needed to refer to their notes, photos, and research to make the buildings accurate for a realistic model. “The students learned that English is not just reading about fiction or nonfiction material, but it is also a bit of a history lesson,” Reilly says. “History is not just about events of way back in the day; it is the making of our past, present, and future.”

"As teachers, we learn that hands-on projects help students apply what they learn in school to the world around us" Share

Reilly is continuing the project again with future classes. The model – which is currently on display at the Phillips Public Library – will continue to grow as students each year research a different area of the town.

“As teachers, we learn that hands-on projects help students apply what they learn in school to the world around us – predictable and unpredictable,” explains Reilly. “Students learn that, in the end, everything we learn in school comes together – English, history, math, science, and technology.”

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.

Exploring Space with the 3Doodler

“In my artistic work I am primarily concerned with the question of space,” explains design undergraduate Oktavia.

For Oktavia, the concept of “space” is at once familiar and nebulous. What she really wanted to focus on was how to create a clearer definition. “Is our environment created only with our perceptions in mind,” she asks in her undergraduate thesis, “or does it exist independently of us?”

“In my work I am looking for ways to visualize spatial ideas and create a wide range of works on this topic,” she explains. “Materiality and abstraction play just as important a role as variety and spontaneity do.”

When looking to expand on this concept and delve deeper for her thesis, Oktavia looked for new tools to help demonstrate her line of thinking. “When dealing with space, which is generally defined as consisting of at least 3 dimensions, the question arises, where do the limits between 2 and 3 dimensions lie?” she says. “Through this specific question, I came across the 3Doodler as a futuristic tool that could help me further.”

Unlike other more precise drafting or modeling tools, Oktavia was drawn to the imperfect nature of Doodling. “I determined relatively quickly that it was not always possible to draw with exact precision with the 3Doodler,” she explains. “But that’s exactly what makes the objects created with the 3Doodler so exciting. The small elements of coincidence make the difference. So I deliberately tried not to be the best technical Doodler, but to let myself be guided by the characteristics of the tool, making those elements the focus of my thesis.”

As she experimented, she found the 3Doodler was able to add structure and variation to her concept in a way no other tool had. “Because the lines of the plastic thread seem uncertain, the 3rd dimension works to ‘dreamify’ the space-filled graphics,” she says. “The jump between drawing on the wall or canvas and drawing in space creates something fantastical and offers the viewer the opportunity to dream about further dimensional jumps.”

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