How to Plan, Teach and Assess Students’ 3D Design Work with Makers Empire

All educators know that the work of a teacher is far more than the time they spend in the classroom or online with their students. Most teachers follow a cycle of planning, teaching, and assessing.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) says that it is important to identify how the particular needs of students can be met throughout the teaching and learning cycle. Through assessment, planning, programming, implementation and evaluation, a learning environment can be created that supports students to achieve relevant syllabus outcomes.

  1. The planning phase is when teachers design learning activities to meet their students’ learning needs and consider how they will address the learning outcomes and standards of relevant curriculum documents. Teachers spend many hours preparing and planning learning experiences that will engage, challenge and support the learners in their classes. 
  2. The teaching phase sees the teacher in the classroom or online, employing a repertoire of strategies and techniques and to engage students in their learning. Teaching is a balancing act of meeting individual learning needs and creating a collaborative learning culture for the whole class. 
  3. The assessing phase sees the teacher examining evidence of their students’ learning such as work samples, assessment tasks, collected data and lesson observations. This is the time where teachers identify strengths and weaknesses and make decisions about where to focus next with their students. Teachers also reflect and evaluate how different lessons and teaching strategies have worked and continually hone their skills and teaching practice repertoires. 

Makers Empire’s innovative tools and resources support all three phases of the teaching and learning cycle. Here are some examples.

1. Planning

The Makers Empire lesson library has over 150 lesson plan ideas for school customers. This library is designed as a starting point for primary/elementary teachers to get ideas about how to incorporate 3D design and printing into lessons across all subject areas.

Teachers can use the lesson builder in the Makers Empire teacher dashboard as a tool for planning and preparing their lessons. This tool also allows teachers to view and select curriculum standards relevant to their lessons from a range of international curricula.

iPad showing Makers Empire 3D design app curriculum-aligned to mars design challenges

We have been busy creating new challenge courses students can complete in the Challenge Central section of the app. Our new challenge courses are all aligned to curriculum and are centred around a theme.  Teachers can assign these challenge courses to students through the Teacher Dashboard. Teachers can also see at a glance where their whole class is up to in the Challenge Course with our new improved challenge reports. We currently have Challenge Courses on the themes of Mission to Mars, and Welcome to 3D. Stay tuned as we have more exciting Challenge Courses on their way.

Makers Empire’s Design and Technology Curriculum helps teachers plan relevant, rigorous and purposeful learning tasks for students aligned to curriculum. Our unique curriculum describes the development of skills, knowledge and understandings across K-6 and aims to help students to develop confidence as designers and problem solvers, use design thinking processes to generate and communicate design ideas and produce designed solutions suitable for a range of technologies contexts by selecting and manipulating a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment creatively, competently and safely; and managing processes.

Makers Empire holds Global Design Thinking Competitions based on a contemporary theme or current issues  every month. These competitions attract over 20,000 entries from students around the world each month and can be easily incorporated into teaching plans.

2. Teaching

Makers Empire’s 3D app really comes into its own in the teaching phase of the cycle. The 3D app is the tool students will use to design creative responses to challenges, solve problems, develop prototypes and complete tasks assigned to them by their teachers. To see some great examples of Makers Empire in action in the classroom check out the huge collection of testimonials, interviews and videos created by our awesome teachers.

3. Assessing

Makers Empire makes it easy for teachers to provide ongoing feedback to their students. Through the Teacher Dashboard, teachers can add comments to their students’ designs and provide specific feedback and questions through our assessment tools.

 

Our View and Assess tools allow teachers to view individual or multiple designs at once and assess them against relevant curriculum standards including Australian Curriculum, Next Generation Science Standards (US) and the National Curriculum UK. Teachers can provide specific curriculum referenced feedback and determine whether the design has met the standard. Students will receive a message inviting them to move on to the next challenge or making some suggestions to improve their work

Tokens are the currency used by students in Makers Empire to unlock shapes and features. Students earn tokens by creating lots of designs and completing challenges. Students can also assign a token value to their designs and ‘buy and sell’ their creations. Tokens are highly sought after and valued by students, making them a useful commodity for teachers to use as rewards or incentives.

Mandi Dimitriadis

Mandi Dimitriadis

Mandi Dimitriadis, DipT. is the award-winning, highly regarded and passionate Director of Learning at Makers Empire. She is an experienced classroom teacher who recognises the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. Mandi has extensive experience with curriculum development and learning, having previously developed programs for the Australian Government’s Department of Education, and having created custom curriculum for Makers Empire schools in the USA, China and the UAE. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today’s students for the future.

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