Jumpstart Design Thinking and Innovation With 3D Printing

(Image credit: MakerBot)

Educators are looking for opportunities to teach students the skills that will best prepare them for college and career. Design thinking is a process to help them solve real-world problems. Specifically, it is a problem-solving process that puts people at the center of an inquiry.

“It allows students to think about the challenges the world is facing,” says Laura McBain, 

Director of K–12 community and implementation at the K–12 lab at Stanford University’s design school. “It puts them in the driver’s seat to be really engaged to solve those problems, to feel empowered to change the world.”

Design thinking is a useful framework when teaching in-demand 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. The iterative design process allows students to focus on a solution for a particular problem, interview and gather data from the people who have the problem, and refine and test potential solutions until they get to the one that resolves the problem.

(Image credit: MakerBot)

Using 3D Printing to Support the Design Process

3D printing allows students to test their designs with high-quality models. It also facilitates STEM thinking within the design process, which provides real-world practice that they will encounter in their careers. Other student outcomes include practicing the finding/defending/presenting of design decisions as well as applying advanced 3D printing skills to communicate those design decisions.

Learning to use design thinking and 3D printers gives students an advantage. “Having the technology in school prepares them [students] to fabricate and build and test and gives them an edge that none of us had a few generations ago,” said Willy Wong, Professor at Parsons School of Design

3D Printer and Design Thinking Training and Certification

A new cloud-based 3D printing solution by Makerbot removes any apprehension an educator new to 3D printing might have. It maximizes student access with multiple printers so that teachers have increased classroom engagement without slowing down the learning process.

With MakerBot Cloud, teachers have seamless classroom management at their fingertips.

Students can queue up their designs and print them without a hitch. By making 3D printing more available to students, it boosts the opportunity for student innovation as they test their designs to solve real-world problems.

(Image credit: MakerBot)

The Makerbot SKETCH Classroom is a reliable 3D printing platform that gives students the access they need and sets teachers up for success. It includes:

  • 2 MakerBot SKETCH Desktop 3D printers.
  • 600+ curated lesson plans created by Makerbot Certified educators.
  • ISTE-certified 3D printer training for both teachers and students.
  • Allows you to certify 2 teachers and 10 students in real-world problem-solving, design thinking, and 3D printing.
  • Cloud-based integration manages student projects and allows direct printing from TinkerCAD

To find out how you can jumpstart design thinking and efficient 3D printing in your classroom, visit https://www.makerbot.com/3d-printers/sketch-classroom/ 

Annie Galvin Teich has more than 25 years' experience in education writing and publishing. She is an edtech industry expert in content marketing and copywriting. As a regular contributor to Tech & Learning she focuses on the information needs of district decision makers.