EOIs closing soon for SA schools to apply for the 3D Printing in Primary Schools project 2019

An exciting opportunity exists for Department for Education (South Australia) schools with a primary enrolment to apply for the final year of the Learning by Design 3D Printing in Primary Schools project for 2019. Over the last three years, 170 SA public schools have participated in the project.

The 3D Printing in Primary Schools project aims to support learning across the STEM disciplines by engaging students in exciting, challenging learning connected to their real-world experiences, and helping teachers develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to develop deep technological knowledge combined with critical, creative and design thinking. Teachers will be supported to design innovative learning programs that provide authentic, meaningful contexts for students to engage in STEM and maker based learning using 3D design/printing.

Participating schools will receive a 1-year subscription to Makers Empire for all students and teachers at the school. Each school will also send a minimum of two teachers to participate in Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course. The Makers Empire subscription and Learning by Design Course is valued at $5,000 per school.

Expressions of interest are now open for the project’s fourth and final year: there are spots for a further 100 schools to take part during Term 2 and Term 3 of 2019.

The deadline for expressions of interest has been extended to Tuesday April 2nd, 2019, so if this project is a good fit for your school we encourage you to apply now.

What will my school gain if we participate in this project?

The 3D Printing in Primary Schools project focuses on providing professional learning for primary school teachers in using 3D modelling and design technologies in integrated ways across the curriculum. Identified teachers will actively participate in professional learning that addresses:

  • critical and creative thinking and the ICT general capabilities
  • the Technologies learning area in the Australian Curriculum
  • using the Makers Empire 3D modelling program
  • understanding how to operate and use 3D printing within a learning context
  • embedding learning technologies across the curriculum
  • improving student involvement in STEM learning

To do this, the project comes with the following inclusions:


• 25+ hours of Makers Empire’s Learning By Design course including 2 x face-to-face professional learning days
• A professional learning community group on Facebook (closed group)7
• For at least two teachers from your school


• Easy to use 3D software
• Class management tools
• 150 curriculum-aligned lesson plans
• Built-in student assessment
• Training and ongoing support
• For ALL teachers and students for one year

What is the Commitment Required from my school?

School leaders will:

  • Identify and provide release for two days for at least two participating classroom teachers or teams of teachers (for small schools where the release of two teachers would be problematic, site leaders may choose to submit a joint or partnership application).
  • Support capacity building of classroom teachers through the facilitation of ‘flow‐on’ professional learning within their sites.

Participating teachers will:

  • Attend two face-to-face professional learning days.
  • Participate in professional learning communities.
  • Design, trial and document a learning plan that uses 3D modelling and design aligned with TfEL Learning Design principles and the Australian Curriculum.
  • Participate in data collection.
  • Share their experiences with others.

Participating students will:

  • Address the TfEL Learning Design principles and the Australian Curriculum.
  • Develop their creativity and important critical thinking, Design Thinking and digital skills.
  • Learn how to solve real-world problems with Design Thinking.

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What Have Teachers Said About Previous Projects?

“This was the best PD that I have been involved in for ages. Being able to work collaboratively to plan a unit of learning based around 3D printing was excellent… This whole project has been inspiring for teachers and students in empowering students to become changemakers. Our students were so engaged and excited about solving a real-world problem – even if it was just a small jam making issue. The fact that they could see they could help someone through their own design, meant their learning was authentic and valued.”

“It was an absolute privilege to be able to celebrate and share in such fantastic models of teaching and learning… Every story showed how you’ve been able to integrate 3D technology into teaching and learning across the curriculum. More importantly, every story showed how the technology is a tool, helping to develop critical & creative thinking, design thinking and powerful learner dispositions.”

“I was a little hesitant at first, but as soon as I began working on my project it became very exciting…I love learning about new things particularly in the area of Technology and design and this was the perfect opportunity. I have learnt more in the last 4 months than I have for a long time. Thank you!”

“Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in the project. It has built my own knowledge as well as my capacity to share with my staff. I am currently running six 3D printing projects this term!”

Is this Evidence-Based Learning?

From August 2017 to July 2018, Macquarie University partnered with the NSW Department of Education, three public NSW 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 undertook Makers Empire’s Learning by Design professional development course and students used Makers Empire’s 3D software.

The 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.

The research study also showed that teachers became more comfortable with technology and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald article about the study: “It was Amazing”: How 3D Printers Taught Kindy Kids to Take Risks.

What is the Eligibility criteria for schools?

Priority will be given to Department for Education (SA) schools or partnerships with a primary element that:

  • have previously applied and been unsuccessful and/or
  • have referenced STEM or Technologies as a priority, and/or
  • are endeavouring to build the capacity of their primary teachers to embed learning technologies into the curriculum, and/or
  • put in a joint application from multiple schools from within a partnership and/or
  • interested in improving literacy or numeracy through the purposeful use of new and emerging technologies

Access to a 3D printer is desirable but not mandatory. Schools may wish to purchase 3D printers or to use a 3D printing bureau service. Makers Empire offers both services to schools in this project.

What kinds of 3D printing projects have participating schools done?

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How do I submit my school’s Expression of Interest?

Department for Education (SA) teachers can view the Department for Education (SA)’s information sheet for further details and application requirements. Please note that you need to login to your Department for Education (SA) account to access the information sheet.

Interested schools must submit their expression of interest (following the Department for Education (SA) instructions) by 5:00pm Tuesday April 2nd 2019. Good luck!

Who do I contact if I have questions about this project?

Please contact Mandi Dimitriadis, Director of Learning at Makers Empire on email: mandi[a]makersempire.com or phone: (08) 8120 3150.

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