In this installment of TeachOntario Talks, we are profiling and celebrating the work of Leslie Boerkamp, Katie Clark, and Krista Fisher at Sacred Heart Mildmay in Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board (BGCDSB) and Rolland Chidiac at Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic Elementary School in Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) who embarked on Teacher Learning and Leadership Programs (TLLP) with 3D printing.
With the recent ability of schools to access 3D printers, this technology is being used to transform learning practices and develop the 21st Century Global Competencies students need to succeed in today's interconnected world. These competencies include:
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
- Self-Directed Learning
“3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file”, writes Leslie Boerkamp. “The process can be broken down into four steps: Model, Slice, Fixup, Print.”
At both schools, students explored this design process by brainstorming ideas, creating initial designs using computer programs and then bringing their thinking and learning to life using the printer technology. At Sacred Heart, students created inventions from the City X Project challenges during the 3D Printing Club. They were even introduced to architecture when they designed and created a floor plan for a house.
In the classroom at Sir Edgar Bauer, students learned about content areas such as Early Societies with the opportunity to design and print an artifact connected to their learning and write narratives by constructing 3D fictional characters. Personal projects were another opportunity for students to learn new topics and practise the skills they acquired. Overall, students experienced the intersection between curriculum, technology, creativity, and problem solving.
Students at Sir Edgar Bauer wrote narratives and brought them to life using 3D technology.
The educators all described a shift in classroom and school culture. The classrooms became “laboratories of ideas” with students as drivers of their learning and the schools came to appreciate how 3D printing technology can be used in an educational setting. “It’s neat to see our parent community also curious about what their son or daughter is creating and inventing,” Krista Fisher says.
Students developed their abilities to communicate, collaborate and use design-thinking to create prototypes and tangible artifacts that demonstrated their understanding. They used a design-thinking model to help them go from idea, to prototype to finished product becoming transformational thinkers.
Overall, both educators and students learned about themselves as learners, and most significantly, came to appreciate that with a growth mindset anything is possible if you put your mind to it and give it the time and resources it needs.