Closing conference 3D Comenius

Final conference in Blokhuispoort in Leeuwarden
At the final conference in Leeuwarden, students, designers and teachers show each other and the audience what they have been working on over the last two years. There is a positive, almost familiar atmosphere on this beautiful summer day. The participants are very pleased with the project and its output. It is obvious that the project has had great effect on the participants.

3D thinking and acting in the classroom
All the results are presented in a large room in the Blokhuispoort. The audience can watch, ask questions, and try for themselves. Besides the school presentations, there is a short workshop on the work of M.C. Escher, a workshop by Jonathan Keep and people can get to work with a 3D drawing pen.

There is a presentation called ‘Hamburg 3000’. The students in Hamburg have been thinking about the city in the future. What will the city look like in the future? How do we live and how do we move about? The German designer Alexander Joly talks about his share: ‘Together with the school we came up with the subject Hamburg in the year 3000, but I thought it would be a good idea to narrow it down al bit by choosing a couple of themes. This is often a better way to come to a good result. We chose living, politics, mobility and science. I asked the kids to further develop their ideas by making up a story around them.’

Teacher Jan Moorlag of the lower vocational school de Krijtenburg, Vlieland: ‘The children get to actually see what they are studying, which is a huge motivation. The conceptual thinking was also really good. The children did a lot by themselves. All we did was council them.’ In Sweden, the students made Star Wars figures and produced their own film and robot parts. Swedish teacher: ‘The 3D printer is still a magical thing to me. Children adapt new techniques really fast.’ Anna Gunnarsson of the Science center Navet in Sweden shows the audience the magic of 3D with a clever handicraft trick. She sticks together two paper circles and cuts them in half twice, producing a square. Magical!

In England, the students created a 3D game. English teacher Brian Roscoe: ‘You shouldn’t be asking me, actually. You should ask the students. They can best explain the game to you. They are the ones who thought it up and made it. From idea to 3D.’

Spread the word
After everyone has looked at and admired each other’s project, we close with a final discussion. Eileen Blackmore gives a short summary of how the project and the cooperation have come about. She shares two striking statements by children, which inspire her and show how well children can think ‘around the corner’: ‘By having to precisely calculate things to make 3D objects, I understand why you teach me maths.’ And: ‘I would like to map out the bottom side of the island of Vlieland. (or: I would like to print out the bottom side of the island of Vlieland in 3D so I can map it out.)’

After this, she hands the microphone to several students, teachers and designers. Everyone tells about his or her share. She concludes with a reaction of Ann Brown of Abinetwerk with whom she set up the international project. Ann has worked on projects like these before. She mentions that adding the designers has been very important. With their knowledge and resourcefulness the project has been made more profound and stronger.

The 3D teachers’ manual with several examples for lessons can be downloaded from the website. Now it is everyone’s mission to tell the story. Spread the word!