Design Thinking For School Districts with 3D Printing

Challenges Faced By School Districts

The challenges faced by school district administrators are numerous and include:

  • Preparing students for future careers when 85% of jobs in 2030 have not yet been invented;
  • Teaching students how to identify and solve real-world problems with Design Thinking;
  • Developing students’ STEM skills – encouraging an interest in and love of STEM subjects;
  • Engaging ALL students in learning, including reluctant learners, students with special needs and students with disabilities;
  • Building students’ resilience by teaching kids how to fail well – helping children to normalise mistakes and encourage persistence;
  • Providing differentiated instruction – letting kids succeed at their own skill level and at their own pace; and
  • Helping teachers better integrate technology into the curriculum to improve learning outcomes.

How Makers Empire Can Help School Districts

Makers Empire helps K-8 educators solve the above challenges via our custom programs for districts. Makers Empire creates market-leading solutions and has delivered 3D technology to groups of 200+ schools in Australia, America and the Middle East. Our solutions are tailored to suit individual needs and objectives and can include:

  • Easy to use 3D design software – works on all computers and devices, including touch devices
  • Curriculum – 150 lesson plans aligned to Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and ISTE Standards.
  • Professional Development for Teachers – blended and online professional development to ensure success
  • Class Management Tools – our products are designed for teachers
  • Built-in Student Assessment – to make life easier
  • Resources – 3D printer tips, case studies, lesson ideas, videos etc

With multi-school or district-wide programs, Makers Empire can deliver significant, systemic change and help equip your students with the skills and attitudes they’ll need to thrive in the future.

Complete 3D Solutions for School Districts

Makers Empire will work with your district to provide a seamless and easy transition. We know you have many demands on your time so we’re here to make your life easier by equipping you with a thoughtful and detailed guide, templates, support and advice at every step of implementation, including:

  • Needs Assessment – we’ll work with you to identify operational and instructional needs of the district in terms of hardware, software, resources, professional development and training.
  • Technology Plan – we’ll help you plan for both operational needs and instructional (educational) needs) for 1, 3 and 5 year periods.
  • Budgeting and Prioritising – we’ll work with you to stretch your budget as far as it can to deliver your priorities.
  • Implementation – we’ll work with your employees to ensure that the technology is implemented in an effective and efficient manner.
  • Evaluation and Monitoring – we’ll deliver real-time reporting so you can see how your district is tracking against expected KPIs.

Denver Public Schools Case Study

Denver Public Schools is a large district with almost 200 schools in the United States of America. Denver Public Schools’ technology coordinators identified a need to provide interested teachers within the district the opportunity to engage in 3D printing. So they researched possible solutions and ended up approaching Makers Empire. The custom professional development program for Denver Public Schools includes face-to-face professional development days, online learning and online support forums for 55 teachers across 38 schools. Each school will also have access to Makers Empire’s high-quality 3D design tools, class management tools and resources for a full year, too. Schools will also be given a 3D printer by the school district so that students can experience the full Design Cycle from empathy, define, ideation, prototyping and testing.

What Teachers Say about Makers Empire

Watch Makers Empire in Action

Evidence Based Learning

From mid 2017 to mid 2018, Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies partnered with the New South Wales Department of Education, three Australian primary schools and Makers Empire for a research project on maker pedagogy in primary schools.

The research study examined how maker activities using 3D design and 3D printing technology could enhance learning and teaching outcomes: teachers from the participating schools undertook Makers Empire’s Learning by Design professional development course and participating students used Makers Empire’s 3D modelling software.

The recently published research study report revealed that makerspaces can be highly effective at developing children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills.

Students were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges – it helped boost their confidence and resilience when dealing with setbacks, particularly for those less capable students.

In a different way, the research study showed that teachers became more comfortable with technology and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching. All of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.

Data Driven Decision Making

Makers Empire has run a customised professional development learning program for the Department of Education (South Australia) for the past three years, for 170 primary schools.

To help measure the effectiveness of the program, pre and post surveys are distributed to all participating teachers and selected students. Of particular interest when comparing the data collected in the pre- and post- project surveys completed by teachers, was:

  • 100% of teachers reporting in the post-project survey said that they are somewhat or very confident in their ability to teach STEM subjects, compared to 82.6% in the pre-project survey, where 17.3%
    teachers said they were not at all confident.
  • Increasing familiarity of the Technologies Learning Area with 64.2% of teachers surveyed reporting a strong to extensive understanding in the post-project compared with 36.7% in the pre-project survey.
  • An increase in teachers’ understanding of design thinking with 55.2% of teachers surveyed reporting a strong to extensive understanding in the post-project survey compared with 28% in the pre-project survey.
  • An increase in teachers who reported using the TfEL Learning Design model to design learning for their students.
  • A significant increase in teachers’ technical knowledge to operate 3D printers and use Makers Empire 3D design software.

School Case Studies

How a 30 Year Veteran Teacher Went From 3D Printing Novice to 3D Printing Guru

“The majority of my kids, when they started the school year, were more than a year and a half behind in reading and Maths. And (because of) what I’ve been able to do with Makers Empire and 3D design this year, many of my kids have grown more than a year and a half. With this program, I’m being able to close that gap for these kids.”

How 3D Printing United My Class and Helped Us Raise Funds for a Local Hospital

“We held a Make Sale at BLT Senior Elementary School’s Christmas concert where we sold over 200 student-made 3D printed and Perler bead ornaments! All the proceeds from the sale were donated to the local children’s hospital, the IWK Health Centre. We earned $347 for the hospital, a fantastic result!”

How 3D Printed Flat Stanleys Support Literacy at Woodsdale Elementary School

“The students’ favorite part was going from the computer screen to something they can hold in their hand… It’s always better if you can give students an authentic reason to communicate… From the beginning, the students had no trouble. They absolutely loved it.”

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