Have you heard people talking about “making” in schools, or “makerspaces”, or “maker education”? What about 3D printers, squishy circuits or arduinos? The idea of making to learn is a philosophy of education that goes back to the late 1800s/early 1900s and the writings of John Dewey. “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

Design Technology in schools has been going through a rough patch for many years now, as it tries to shake-off its image of a stuffy subject making bird-boxes and cushions for no real reason other than teaching out-dated, limited-use skills. In many areas of Asia there is also a lack of understanding of the subject, and it is often judged as a less academic and therefore less important subject. Despite swathes of students progressing to universities to study Engineering, Design Technology often doesn’t have large numbers of students opting for the subject and parents fail to appreciate the value of the curriculum.

3D printing is steadily transforming the world through innovation, speed, localised manufacturing and empowering the creativity of the individual. Where computers and mobile technology changed the world and the landscape within education, 3D printing adds another dimension to learning and gives rise to the next generation of engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, artists and industry innovators. The notion to innovate and excite the classroom, to transform learning processes and to introduce the ability to simplify complex design processes can all be achieved with a 3D printer. Here, I discuss how the concept can be used across the curriculum.

3D printing is an exciting field, but how should schools approach it if they’re interested? James Hannam, experienced teacher and tech-innovator, discusses how he’s used 3D printers over the years, and looks at the options available to teachers.

After reading Peter Jones’ excellent article on 3D printing in the latest Innovate My School magazine, I wanted to offer my findings as a teacher (of all things geek). I am hoping that this piece will give you an informal starting point to the possibilities and considerations of 3D printing in the classroom.

It can be easy to forget that a child’s mind works in a wildly-different way to that of an adult. DesignBox Architecture director Philip Wells was reminded of this when he ran a series of creative workshops at a London primary school...

Children learn very quickly. Their learning patterns are led by their conceptual thoughts at first, and then by experience as they get older. When children are faced with new challenges, their thinking methods are not confined to established preconceptions of how things should look or work. Instead they are more fluid, often very confident and usually unique.

Advances in the science industry tend to bleed into the education sector. Paul Croft, director at Ultimaker, briefly explains how the maker movement is important for STEM subjects, and the opportunities offered by this development.

If you believe the hype, the next industrial revolution has begun! Whether the impact of this unquestionable ground-swell reaches revolutionary status is yet to be determined, but people are definitely 'making' and creating again and taking control of their own environment.

This blog post is going to examine how the iPad was used to improve the pedagogy of a Design & Technology project, and allow child initiated learning by motivating the children to discover new skills and knowledge through project based learning.

The ultimate aim of the controllable vehicle project, and use of the iPads, was to get the children to become more responsible for their own learning and not rely on the step by step instructions that I used to provide at the start of each lesson in previous years.

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