3D Printing for Learning Course Details


The online course that I am designing in Schoology will be for an audience of teachers, librarians, curriculum specialists, and campus technology support specialists. This year, every single one of our elementary libraries will have 3D printers. The 3D printers that we purchased come with one license to an online self-paced course from the manufacturer. However, that course is mainly intro-level knowledge and focused on the function of the printer. My course will focus more on pedagogy and finding ways to integrate the 3D printer into the curriculum. 

I will take several steps to ensure student success in the course. Primarily, I will encourage the learners to choose projects and lessons that have interest and meaning for them. Additionally, I will incorporate digital elements in the course that allow learners to review and practice the knowledge and skills they need to successfully implement 3D printing in their classroom or library. For example, I will include videos that use Playposit that have stopping points for response or check for understanding. Finally, I will include quick checks that allow for multiple submission opportunities.

According to Learning Forward, the Professional Learning Association, “Several factors influence decisions about learning designs, including the goals of the learning, characteristics of the learners, their comfort with the learning process and one another, their familiarity with the content, the magnitude of the expected change, educators’ work environment, and resources available to support learning.”

Here are some notes about those in relation to this 3D Printing course:

  • Goals of the learning – The things I want course participants to know and be able to do by the end of the course are:
    • how 3D printing can impact learning for elementary students.
    • the basics of 3D printing and how to use 3D pre-made files.
    • how to design their own 3D objects and files.
    • how to integrate 3D printing into their current lessons.
    • how to design projects that include 3D printing objects as options
      • When students have submitted 5 examples of their 3D printed objects or screenshots of images they intend to 3D print, I will be able to monitor their progress to determine that they have met the objectives.
  • Characteristics of the learners – The elementary staff participants will electively take this course. Since it is their choice to join the course, they are likely to be interested in the topic, and therefore more driven to learn.
  • Their comfort with the learning process – As educators, they should be comfortable with the learning process. But true learning can often involve some discomfort or disequilibrium with gaining new skills and knowledge. The triumph comes when teachers accomplish or learn something that they perhaps struggled with a bit and overcame.
  • Their familiarity with the content – Participants may or may not be familiar with the content, but interested in it. Most of them will be very comfortable within the learning management system.
  • The magnitude of the expected change – I would anticipate that the 3D printing course may not have a huge magnitude of change, but the knowledge will be handy in these teachers’ bags of tricks, and another way to hook students into learning.
  • Educators’ work environment – I would hope that the library will provide a safe and collegial place for the participants to practice and learn together or individually.
  • Resources available to support learning – The resources participants will need are access to the internet, a 3D printer with filament, a camera to take images of their 3D printed model and a willingness to try something new. They will need to be able to create accounts on Tinkercad and Thingiverse. All of this should be available on every elementary campus in our district.

It is important to consider the TPACK model when designing an online course to emphasize that content, pedagogy and technology all three work together to support learning. It is important not to use technology just for the sake of using a cool tool. The learning needs to be about the content, learned with the pedagogical strategies, with the technology sort of being the conduit to facilitate the knowledge and strategies. This is a point that I hope to drive home in the course. I want the teachers to be inspired to find ways to use the 3D printer to support what they are already teaching.

The pedagogical strategies I intend to use in the course:

  • Multiple opportunities to engage with the content
  • Various forms of digital media with little to no lecture.
  • Any lecture content will be delivered in a brief video format with questions built in.
  • Opportunities to choose what to print and how to integrate that into instruction.
  • Virtual meeting times will be available weekly during the first few weeks of the launchof the course.

The first three weeks of this largely self-paced course, largely inspired by Dremel’s Digilab Introduction of Dremel 3D Printing are outlined below:

Note: Links to the LMS are only operational for members of the course. For full access to the course, please create a Schoology account and contact me for the


Tasks & Activities


  • Discussion Question – Have you started to imagine all of the things you might print? Check out this video to learn how to turn your dreams into reality with 3D printing software options. What else might you need to know to proceed in this course?
  • Content – Videos – Watch and Consider
  • Week 2 Assignment – Now you are ready to Print!
    • Browse 3 the built-in files of your Dremel 3D printer
    • Consider how they might connect to lessons in your curriculum
    • Choose 3 of the built-in files of your Dremel 3D printer
    • Practice printing
    • Post images of your prints, or a brief video of your progress
    • Write a reflection about your experiences in which you address:
      • What worked?
      • What didn’t work?
      • How will this affect your approach with students?


  • Content – Videos – Watch and Consider
  • Content –10 Mini Course Videos from We Are Print Lab
    • Overhangs
    • Bridging
    • Wall Thickness
    • Orientation
    • Tolerance
    • Engrave and Emboss
    • Bed Adhesion
    • Fillets
    • Sharp & Narrow Parts
    • Respecting Your 3D Printer
  • Week 3 Design Quick Quiz – 15 questions related to the video content (multiple attempts permitted)
  • Week 3 Assignment –
    • Complete 3 of the Tinkercad starters.      OR
    • Print one or more of the STL files included with the We Are Print Lab videos
    • Take screenshots of your progress and submit with this assignment
    • Write or record a reflection about your experiences in which you address:
      • What worked?
      • What didn’t work?
      • How will this affect your approach with students?


Note: Links to the LMS are only operational for members of the course. For full access to the course, please create a Schoology account and contact me for the access code.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: