It all started with 2 innocuous 3D printing demos with the Principal, Headmistress and a few teachers of the school in the early part of 2017. Everyone was impressed with the 3D printing technology and the potential it held for them. Being a purely CBSE school, we were of the wrong view that DPS wanted to have 3D printing technology as a hobby club! Seeing their enthusiasm we corrected our course of action as in the past most of our clients had been IB schools. However their condition of buying our 3D equipment was that we had to do capacity building, that is train their teachers & students first.
So the 3D printing training sessions started in April 2017 for about 20 students of the robotics club. However the same got halted due to the summer break, only to resume in July 2017. That very month DPS got the installation done of the 3D printer & pen too. Now they could call themselves in the literal & true sense, ‘a 3D printing enabled School’. The speed of the engine governs the speed of the train, and the speed of the boss governs the speed of his team. Mr. Anil Kumar Principal DPS Faridabad supported the 3D printing initiative whole heartedly from the beginning. He knew about the technology before hand and posed every possible question prior to our start.
The 3D printing training process was very invigorating for us and the students. As always we started with the introduction, power point, videos, pictures, Q&A etc. The 1st impact of 3D printing turned out quite positive for us but we knew the uphill task. The 3D printing training slot given to us was 1.30pm to 3 pm, where in a student had completed his day, finished his lunch and then came to us on a Friday! So one can realize what was against us: the beginning of a weekend, grogginess post-lunch and the fact that 25 minutes is the ideal attention span of a student when learning. All this was to happen once a fortnight and we had to revise the previous lessons. But never the less, the class participation was excellent and above all, we were able to create a positive learning atmosphere for the students.
However, we always allow our students to send us their designs on email, for assessments & feedback. Designs made at leisure or ease always come out differently than a hushed up once. It’s always said, that the subject is the same, it’s how a teacher approaches it matters the most for a student. I’ve had a similar situation in the University of Manchester, wherein our Project Finance class had a similar timing as above. But the Professor Dr. Tony Merna was such an excellent orator, that our total attention was towards him for 2-3 hours continuously.
Post the introduction we took up the basic 3D CAD software for the students & teachers. We took them back in time wherein we demonstrated with building blocks, how to create various objects, shapes etc. Somehow for a majority of us, our childhood is the best time we’ve had. Anything associated with it strikes a different chord. So after getting accustomed to the various commands of the basic CAD software, the majority of the students were able to create products, models etc that were quite detailed and difficult to make otherwise. For the rest, we suggested making simple objects in order to get that sense of accomplishment which is essential for the purpose of doing the thing gets established.
Many times, we adults push our students to create things that are beyond our very own reach or never unaccomplished by us. Even worse, we compare them to others, realizing little that each one is unique and one should not paint everything with the same brush. So the DPS students for example among the prominent things, they made an aircraft, motorcycle, Taj Mahal, UFO etc. We always maintain that our job is to simply facilitate the thinking, creativity or necessity of students/learners. Thereafter we let their imagination run for their benefit and the results have always been astonishing. In addition, the cloud based software does its job pretty well for students in the school’s computer lab. and outside ( at home) as well.
Remember a boxed mind seldom blossoms, and a mind is like a parachute it only functions when it is open. Similarly, the 3D CAD software generated some astonishing results for students as young as 10 years of age. Till now students had been designing on the computer but were not able to bring their designs to reality or in other words, physically hold them. It was rather a moment of realization and a great sense of achievement for the young students. As always, our slogan from ‘Thinker to Maker’ had truly been achieved. In the end, all were happy to see the positive outcome of the training as desired.