Design thinking, often limited to the art classroom in a teacher's mind, comes to life in 3DBear AR. Students can "illustrate" stories in 3D, create models of buildings, invent objects that solve problems, or practice interior design skills from their compatible tablets or mobile devices. Challenge kids to design a reading corner for your classroom or overhaul your lab setup. Let students re-create scenes from history by importing designs from Thingiverse or challenge them to research dinosaurs and re-create a scene from the Mesozoic era. Thinking bigger? Host a green school design contest, and use a 3D printer to create a model that incorporates the best ideas to bring to your administration or board for consideration.
Students will easily get lost in the creation process, so teachers should schedule ample time for creativity as well as set clear expectations that align with learning goals. Also, while there are some ideas for lessons on the site, they are limited. Involve students in the brainstorming process; chances are, they'll come up with loads of ideas for how you can use it in the classroom.Continue reading Show less
3DBear AR is a design app (for iOS and Android) that combines augmented reality with 3D printing through integration with Thingiverse. Teachers create and assign lessons to teams or classes through a web-based teacher dashboard, and kids use the app on their smartphone or tablet (be aware that some older devices aren't compatible) to create scenes using the object library or uploads from Thingiverse. Students can share completed designs and scenes through the cloud feature, which sends them to the teacher dashboard for viewing. From there, teachers can share designs with teams of students for further discussion and modification.
Students can also share designs via email, social media, Google Drive, or a host of other options, allowing them to get feedback from others or to crowdsource ideas. Since sharing is so easy, however, teachers should take advantage of the opportunity to make sure students aren't including personal information on their designs and to talk with kids about protecting their privacy.
Any time teachers encourage kids to let the creative juices flow, learning will happen, but it's often what we don't expect that makes this encouragement worthwhile. Developing novel solutions is a primary outcome of tools like 3DBear AR, and the teacher's role shifts from deliverer of knowledge to a guide who channels students' energy into meaningful tasks that will enhance understanding of core concepts -- and perhaps save the world along the way.
Merging technology and artistic design with math and engineering concepts like scaling and iterative design is at the heart of the STEAM approach, and 3DBear AR is a powerhouse when it comes to possibilities. However, it's not a tool you want to use without discretion -- it's too easy to get lost in playing, and without clear direction, kids might not accomplish much beyond having fun. While that certainly has its place, many teachers will find it easier to see the learning value when students are engaged in activities that allow them the flexibility and creativity they crave while meeting curricular goals and objectives.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.