To make my shopping list even more effective, I'm going to try to evaluate my wish list goodies with the RAT framework, to find strong valid reasons for the ICTs' benefit in teaching & learning.
Anyway, first amazing item for this week, is this article at The Whiteboard Blog, which discusses a 3D printing application that is marketed at students, called Autodesk Tinkerplay. Have a look at their video below.
I have to admit, I absolutely love the whole concept of 3D printing, there are just so many opportunities to be had! Endless uses to benefit humankind! I have seen various documentaries about this technology that range from designing new Lego pieces, to creating medical parts such as heart transplant items, prosthetic limbs, etc.
The sky's the limit!
And when you think about it, 3D printing doesn't really sound so far fetched. It's just the implementation that was difficult. And now it is available to everyone … well, anyone who can afford a 3D printer. (Although that will get cheaper in time, for sure.)
But fear not, as the article mentions, 3D design doesn't have to end there. If you don't have a 3D printer, you can still use your creations in digital story-telling, or multi-media creations.
The thing I love most about this idea, is the endless creative opportunities for children. Education these days needs to be hands-on, inquiry based, and engaging. Applications such as this tick all those boxes. Students are encouraged to create whatever their wild imaginations can come up with, or they can be guided by course content tied in to a unit of study.
The real beauty is when students get to actually use their creation, in their work, transfer it to other applications and mediums. Even better if they can print it out and tangibly feel their creation. It's essentially the same creative process behind Lego, playdough, building blocks, or any other creative medium.
But by using technology such as this, they can indulge their creative play needs and have a ball of fun, while at the same time start to develop awesome technological skills. Who knows? Maybe it will be those same students using those skills to invent medical marvels for us in the future?
So, my shopping list/RAT reasons? Amplification of the creative design process, fulfilling the process of creativity in that students get to see & feel the end result of their designs, rather than just seeing it on paper or screen. It validates their process, and can help them to evaluate their design, spot any possible flaws, and innovate further. It also gives students a taste of engineering and creative design, providing relevance of future careers or hobbies that they can participate in themselves. Plus it includes them in the revolution that is currently 3D-printing, making it accessible to everyone.