I am embarking on a new experiment in networked learning as part of my Teaching for Understanding with Technology course. The project comes with a few constraints – I can only use YouTube and help forums to learn my new skill and I have to do it in four weeks, documenting my experience here on my blog. Deciding on a topic took some time, as I was torn between focusing on one of my current areas of interest (e.g., mindfulness or sketchnoting) or choosing something I love to do, like baking (because how fun/yummy would that be!). I finally settled on a topic that I have been wanting to learn in-depth for a few years now and it’s one that I think could also make my teaching practice better: 3D Printing!
I’ve seen some really neat 3D printing projects done in schools and that work is growing rapidly as printers become more affordable and accessible. I’ve been wanting to learn the in’s and out’s of a how to do more than print things from Thingiverse since we got a Makerbot 5th Generation for our Lower School last year but it has been hard to find the time. That’s why I decided that I would learn how to use Tinkercad. I choose this particular tool because I think it will be more accessible to my K-2nd grade students compared to other tools like SketchUp.
My learning goal: Learn how to use Tinkercad to design and print at least three different types of projects: a sign, something with moving parts, and something that has a practical application.
I carefully crafted my goal to clarify that I would learn to design my projects, instead of just grabbing them from existing project libraries. I then chose three types of projects to print to help make my goal specific (measurable) and realistic given the four week timeline.
I have already explored a few sources that I hope to use for this project. I was happy to discover that Tinkercad has a number of tutorial videos on their YouTube channel and there’s an extensive help forum called Tinkercad Talk available on 3DHubs.com. I also found a website called 3DPrintingForum.org that has a number of results for “tinkercad” and I hope it will be a place I can go to post and connect with other learners and mentors.