Nurturing Creative Skills in the Classroom with 3D Modelling

Posted by sammy3 on March 2nd, 2018

Designing a CAR in SelfCAD

It goes without saying, there’s going to be numerous benefits associated with art in the classroom setting. Indeed, drawing, painting, and sculpting are not done simply for the sake of it. One report, by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, entitled ‘How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement’ states, “A growing body of studies, including those in the research compendium Critical Links, presents compelling evidence connecting student learning in the arts to a wide spectrum of academic and social benefits.”

These benefits pertain to areas such as reading and language, mathematics, thinking skills, social skills, motivation to learn and a positive school environment. For this very reason, art and creative skill based education has always been, and continues to be, a mainstay of curricula around the world.

How Does 3D Modelling Fit into This?

3D modelling may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of art education. However, it really is just a digital approach to drawing, painting and sculpting. And like any other art form, it is an excellent outlet for artistic creativity. Furthermore, with the increasing affordability of 3D printers and easy to use 3D design software such as SelfCAD, much like a painting or sculpture that is tangible, students are able to bring their 3D creations to life.

However, 3D modelling is not just limited to more artistic pieces. You may have heard terms such as ‘design thinking’ or ‘maker thinking’ being bandied about in educational contexts. According to one definition by the Interaction Design Foundation, at the core of the idea is that creative design skills are key to a solution based approach to solving real world problems. ‘Design thinking’ involves “creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing”, as well as “ongoing experimentation: sketching, prototyping, testing, and trying out concepts and ideas.”

3D modelling facilitates ‘design thinking’ in that it supports the creative processes that go along with it, as mentioned above. Indeed, the expression can move beyond simply creating pieces of art; it can provide solutions to real world problems.

Who Can Benefit?

In the same way students of all ages can benefit from art education, they can benefit from 3D modelling and printing. In an article for Open Access Government, Wyn Griffiths, Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, explains that 3D printing  “holds enormous potential not just in the STEM industries, but in schools as well… In short, it’s a game-changer of massive proportions that can give excellent benefits to both teaching and learning.”

Remember too, there is a growing need for trained up professionals in the area of 3D printing. Griffiths concurs, “Although less than a decade old, 3D printers are poised to completely change the way in which we manufacture goods. Creative and design occupations will easily make use of the tech, while new and innovative technologies will be spawned in the STEM sectors…Allowing learners to get to grips with a tool that they will probably use in their adult lives matters enormously.” So, learning with 3D design stands to benefit students in more ways than one, particularly in terms of acquiring employment.

Indeed, students and adults of all ages will benefit significantly from art education, including 3D modelling and printing. In addition to the copious cognitive and health benefits, it will allow them to express themselves creatively, enhance their digital education, and prepare them for the many opportunities that await them. Programs such as SelfCAD, which is designed for all ages and the classroom setting, is already helping many schools nurture creative skills.

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