Guest blogger: Penny Rowe, Digital Learning Branch
3D printing is becoming a more widely used technology in schools, with the lowering costs and strong connections to science, engineering and maths. Quantum Victoria is taking the lead in this area and offers cutting edge professional development and student programs to guide both teachers and students through the process of using the device. From building to using 3D printers; students and staff develop a deeper understanding of 3D modelling and printing.
Quantum Victoria was established by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. With a diverse team comprising of highly skilled teachers and education support staff Quantum offers workshops and training which is innovative and tailored to enhance access and learning with technology.
On March 6 and 7th Quantum Victoria held a two day professional development workshop for teachers to learn how to use a Solidoodle 3D printer, which they were then able to take away with them to install into their prospective settings. This was made possible through a partnership grant with DEECD. Schools were invited to participate in this initiative with the hope that they would embed this new technology across Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics within their schools.
During the training teachers were guided by the highly skilled team at Quantum. The process started with learning how to set up and calibrate the device, connect and communicate with the computer, instructing the printer what to print. We sourced 3D models from the internet on http://www.thingiverse.com, as well as being taught how to use a range of software packages to create our own 3D models. These included MeshMixer, OpenSCAD, SketchUP Make, and Sculptris, all of which was free to download from the internet and required various levels of skill.
It was an excellent two days of training. All in attendance, teachers from both primary and secondary school settings, rural and metro locations, went away excited and empowered to use this device to enhance learning in their school communities. There was rich conversation and collaboration among the participants about how the device could be used in the classroom to enhance problem solving and thinking skills and make real world connections with their students which attributed to the success of the two days. Teachers also have an opportunity to share their ideas and lesson plans with each other through the online community established by the Quantum team.
To find out more information about 3D printers and the programs at Quantum Victoria please contact: Soula Bennett via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or for more general information on 3D printers the Digital Learning Branch.
While not related to Victorian education – this video shows the potential of 3D printing technology, in this case to create 3D prosthetic limbs.