As of today, our new 3D printing digital learning platform will be available for free until the end of April 2020 in support of distance-learning during this difficult time.
In the midst of this unprecedented situation the world is seeing due to COVID-19, it has been truly amazing to see the acts of kindness in society to support teachers, parents and students - from teachers supporting each other with distance learning tips to edtech suppliers offering free resources. Today we are delighted to be able to join these efforts with a digital learning platform for students, parents and anyone who is interested in 3D design and 3D printing. As of today (23rd March 2020), the platform will be available until the end of April 2020 in support of distance-learning during this difficult time.
First of all, a little background about PrintLab for those of you who are new to our community...
PrintLab Classroom is an online education platform that helps schools, libraries and makerspaces to use 3D printing to address global challenges. From creating assistive technology through human-centred design to rethinking product design to tackle global waste, our fully-resourced lesson plans bring learning to life, whilst providing young people with technical and soft skills to excel in the future.
The platform is based on a yearly subscription and made up of 40+ projects that focus on different applications of 3D printing. Our approach is to save teachers huge amounts of time in planning lessons and creating resources by providing a complete toolkit of explainer videos, presentations, design workbooks, CAD tutorials and step-by-step instructions – all available to download from our teacher portal.
In recent months, we have been developing a new digital learning platform to work in conjunction with our lesson plans. The 2 key aims of the digital learning platform are as follows:
• To improve the workflow of delivering our projects in the classroom by hosting the digital resources (tutorial videos, explainer videos, instructions) required for each of PrintLab's projects on a site that can be accessed by students on their individual devices. This eliminates the need for teachers to download large video files and distribute it to students via email or some form of data transfer.
• To allow each project to be undertaken online for those who want to learn outside of the traditional classroom (libraries, makerspaces, home-learning, individual learning etc). In simple terms, we are making it an option for our projects to be completed without a teacher/instructor.
The digital learning platform is due to launch in the coming months
with a whole range of resources such as short courses on 3D design
and 3D printing, together with exciting STEM and global challenge
Although we are still in the development stage of the platform, we have plenty of content available at present to support distance and home learning. We have therefore made the decision to release a beta version of the new digital learning platform completely free until the end of April 2020. The beta platform acts as a small preview of what will be released in the coming months and consists of:
• 5 x short courses on 3D design/3D printing
• 4 x beginner design projects
• 4 x advanced design projects
A broad range of topics are included such as 3D printing for customization, distributed manufacturing, assistive technology, making on-demand tools, designing whistles, wrenches and more!
Before we provide you with access to the platform, there are a few key points to mention:
• At the end of many of the projects, there will be instructions to 3D print models, before analysing them and improving them. Many people will not have access to a 3D printer and we therefore recommend that the project is finished by developing several CAD models to solve the challenge. These models can then be 3D printed once you have access to a 3D printer in the future. We would also recommend contacting any local makers/makerspaces, who may be able to support you with 3D printing and the delivery of models.
• To use the learning platform, you will require internet access and either Tinkercad (browser based - free) or Fusion 360 (free for education/hobbyists/startups) software. We recommend that users in the age group 8-12 use Tinkercad and those in the 12+ age group can use either Tinkercad or Fusion 360. In addition to design software, a 2D paper printer is recommended to print out various worksheets, although resources can be adapted for use without worksheets for those without.
• Although our projects are hosted online, there are various tasks that involve 'off-screen' working. We recommend that all sketches, notes etc are recorded in some form of portfolio so you can go back and reflect on your work.
• The digital learning platform is accessed via a code of 5 characters, which can be passed on to your students/children. We do not capture any personal data from young people and comply by the standards of COPPA and others.
To access the digital learning platform, please fill out this short form and follow the instructions upon submission.
• If you're providing students and children with access to the platform, simply share the instructions you see upon submission of the form with them.
• If you're sharing the information with other teachers/parents, we politely ask that you post the link to this blog as it contains some key information for them.
As we have released this digital learning platform prematurely, we would welcome any feedback and we are on call to support you! You can reach us at email@example.com.
Stay safe and keep making!
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