November 24, 2014

In Schools: 3D Printing (2)

3D Printing Maneuvers into Schools
In schools, printing in 3D does seem to be following expected routines of adoption, patterns that are quite familiar to those of us in the education space:

Peppered Interest.
Interested schools, curious principals, or impassioned teachers just buy them. You may find one, two or three 3D printers peppered around a school district—largely in the hands of a well-funded innovator, a magnet school, or a well-connected charter school.

Concentrated Interest.
Like some school districts I know on the East coast, leaders have concentrated 3D printers at a single grade level. For example, every high school has a 3D printer in one district, but none in any other schools. In another example, every middle school has been outfitted with a makerspace (included with that, a 3D printer); but none exist in elementary or high schools.

Laser-focused Interest.
Some districts I know in Texas are afraid of the high price tag of 3D printers—and the voracious costs of consumables, so they purchase a single high-end 3D printing solution for their regional career and tech center, while forbidding local schools to make similar investments. If other schools want to do printing in 3D, they can contract with the regional career and tech center.

Over the last year, I have attended every 3D-printing session possible at national conferences. I have even presented a few. And here’s what I know: It’s still largely in the marching band phase; there lots of folks buying these, but they are still not sure how to use them well, nor are they well equipped to handle the ongoing costs or TCO. BYTK.

There are a number of super stars, doing amazing things with printing in 3D, but they are hard to find. Both ISTE and COSN are among the organizations hoping to corral these folks and create venues for sharing, growing, and disseminating educational successes.

November 17, 2014

Rosetta in 3D

It’s current events time!

It looks like the Rosetta landing was viewed in 3D by President Hollande of France, along with other dignitaries.

It looks like they are using anaglyph glasses, which are old school, yet convenient for mass audiences.

Also, here's a useful link for the classroom: many of the Philae pics are freely available in 3D, too. 

November 10, 2014

In Schools: 3D Printing

The 3D printer craze continues its enthused cadence, parading through the halls of schools nation-wide, with no apparent sign of losing formation. The next three posts feature the latest and most useful news bytes and perspectives about printing in 3D in schools.

We will begin with a few random tidbits, hopefully items of interest to many of our readers:

NEO3DO Quicksteps to Printing in 3D
NEO3DO is touting a Print Preview app, an STL file viewer that allows for naked eye 3D interactivity. It works on all android devices and, soon, also on Apple devices. Of course, when using the glasses-free NEO3DO, it enables full autostereoscopic 3D viewing. This is a game changer for schools, by viewing student-created prototypes before for actually printing in 3D.  This translates well into classrooms, saving time, money, and scarce consumables.

COSN and ISTE Interest March Forward
Printing in 3D continues to please the crowds within the largest professional educational technology organizations, as well. ISTE's 3D Network recently conducted a very informative webinar on printing in 3D, featuring 3D printing expert Chad Norman, while COSN will be including printing in 3D as a featured topic within their 2015 EdTechNext Report on 3D in learning.

VREP Drums into 3D Printing
Even the large, Iowa-based VREP program is marching to the beat, shifting from pure 3D design on displays to options for outputting student designs to 3D printers. For the first time, they offered breakout sessions on 3D printing at their past VREP Showcase. Their 2015 showcase is scheduled for April 15, 2015.  

November 3, 2014

Nevada State (2)

In last week's post, we introduced the 3D learning project at Nevada State College. The pivotal question here is: “Why has Nevada State College hammered down their stakes in the field of 3D visualization?” Nevada State College is a small college, with 3400 students. Still, it leads the state of Nevada in a number of success indicators, as mentioned previously. So it should be no surprise that they hope to meet challenging fiscal times with bold counterstroke. It’s in their nature. And 3D is part of that effort, a determination to foster innovation and learning--and simply teach better.

Nevada State College leaders believe that 3D has a definite role in classroom. Dr. Andy Kuniyuki , Dean of the NSC School of Liberal Arts and Sciences believes, as a scientist, that 3D “engages, creates excitement, builds up and connects concepts, and delivers the abstract” directly to the minds of students, enabling them to “visualize the learning; to make sense of the information they are being taught.”

As a part of their initiative at Nevada State College, Dr. Kuniyuki is also laying the groundwork for research on the effectiveness of 3D in instruction. He wants to evidence some level of efficacy: “that 3D aids the conceptualization of difficult-to-deliver subject areas.” He explains that the college hopes to compare the impact of learning with 3D visualization with the baseline of past experience. “We want to see what students are able to think, know and do better or more efficiently with 3D—and then measure that outcome.”

Dr. Kuniyuki is also considering some innovative forward thinking in designing new 3D simulations to tackle some stubborn educational challenges: “Schools generally don’t do sufficient justice explaining why DNA is a hereditary molecule,” he explains. “We want to see if we can develop, model, and deliver on that essential question” using some in-house 3D visualization.