3D Printing & Modeling + Ed3DP

3. 3D Modelling- TinkerCAD

3.1. Class Tips for TinkerCAD

Classroom Tips for TinkerCAD

Like any technology or teaching aid, its success or failure to produce learning outcomes and successful classroom management depends greatly on utilising that technology wisely.  Based on many years of project based STEM education utilising TinkerCAD I can offer the following advice to aid successful learning, engagement and classroom management.  This refers to mainstream mixed ability large classes not specialist design or extension classes.

  1. Common Logon:
    •  Its best not to ask students to create their own TinkerCAD accounts -partly for online safety reasons and partly to aid student work monitoring, assessment and class flow
    • Create a generic TinkerCAD account with your teacher email and allow students to log in with that- its no problem having 30 students logged into the one account at a time
    • Get students for put all their work in the one project and name it with their name
    • Teacher then has immediate access to all student work and this also helps with getting the files onto the 3D printer
    • It is a risk that students may modify other students work but this has never happened accross many years as students are usually so engaged they don't even think of such a thing.
    • TinkerCAD does have a new "Teacher" account that can link to your student accounts and it is a great system technically but be advised to check with your admin as this could lead to unwanted outcomes and may expose you to duty of care issues- if you are going to direct students to create a TinkerCAD account then get admin approval first.
  2. TinkerCAD is a cloud based system and must be accessed with a browser that has WebGL (Chrome or IE11)- it is rather bandwidth friendly and runs fine with a full class on the internet in schools but please check your bandwidth and test as some regional schools may have a problem.
  3. TinkerCAD has a great Learn/Tutorial system:
    • Utilise the Learn tutorial projects as a unit of mainstream work or as differentiated curriculum for not so abstract learners.
  4. 3D Modelling is inherently abstract:  To make your TinkerCAD based projects accessible to all types and levels of learners it is crucial to make the inherently abstract task of creating a virtual 3D model as concrete as possible
    • Use real physical props and modelling aids
    • Utilise rulers and measurement aids and sketches 
    • Focus on simple design projects that all students would have concrete familiarity (like a key ring, name badge or ring for their finger
    • Set multiple simple design projects that are quickly prototyped with the 3D printer to help keep the process concrete for all learners