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3DC may seem like a tool for classrooms focused on design, art, or makerspaces, but it actually offers plenty of opportunities for use in other subjects as well. 3D modeling can't take the place of essays, but it can be a complement to them. Consider social studies, where younger grades often have a unit on their community; a problem-based project assessment could include a component in which students reimagine park spaces or design new library spaces that are more easily accessible to seniors. In language arts, a literary analysis could be accompanied by a 3D rendering of the ideal bedroom for a character (to reflect a student's understanding of the character). For some students, adding an option like 3DC to an assessment may kindle an interest that would otherwise be missing.Continue reading Show less
3DC is both a website and an app used for 3D modeling. Both versions of 3DC have a relatively simple interface that allows students to add geometric solids, colors, text, and more to create models. Once finished with a design, students can export images of their work, OBJ files (STL being a standard file format for other 3D image editing applications), and STL files (for 3D printing).
Both the website and app versions of 3DC feature a gallery of work created by the user community. Students can choose to make their work public and also find existing projects for inspiration and/or remixing. The paid ($3.99) education version of the app offers a wider range of textures as well as the option of uploading images to incorporate into user designs (though not a lot of other features). These can be used to make models more realistic or to create more interesting backgrounds. 3DC doesn't include a training or tutorial section (though the app version offers more than the website), but the simple controls likely won't take long for students to figure out.
3DC is a strong tool for learning about modeling and design. Its simple interface makes it accessible to students of all ages while still allowing for very complex creations. Whether a school has a 3D printer or not, creating 3D models can be a valuable element in demonstrating learning, particularly if assessments are project-based and call on students to look for and propose solutions to problems.
The platform doesn't feature a lot of help or tutorials, however, so for students starting out, it might take some guidance from teachers (e.g., directing students to the gallery and discussing potential classroom connections) to realize its full potential. Ultimately, like most learning tools, 3DC relies on teachers thinking of creative ways for students to put it to use in the classroom, but the potential is certainly there.
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