3D Academy: Educate to Innovate

Using hands-on egineering education and innovation to bridge the stem skills gap.Our 3D Academy is a huge proponent of hands-on project-based learning to bring innovation and new teaching techniques into the classroom. Here at 3D Academy, we believe that as the landscape of the work environment changes to meet global demands, so should the way we teach in the classroom. Introducing innovation into a classroom can help students turn their passion into future careers. Below are five ways to help students develop an innovation mindset and build important life-long skills.

Build an ‘Innovation Mindset’

To help students cultivate an innovation mindset, first you must show them what one looks like. This mindset focuses on critical thinking and asking “why”. While, it is easy to apply this mindset to STEM subjects, it can, and should, be applied to every subject. Think about all the times you are reading material and ask yourself “why”—Why is that? Why did this happen? Now, let your students see you asking these questions and encourage them to do the same.

Curiosity leads to finding answers together as a team. Critical thinking and team building are both valuable skills in any workplace environment.

Use Problem-Finding Techniques

Instead of problem-solving, teachers can help students look at the world by finding gaps to fill using problem-finding. Problem-finding is equivalent to problem discovery. Teachers can use problem-finding as part of a more significant problem process that can include problem-shaping and problem-solving all together. Problem-finding requires an intellectual and imaginative vision to seek out what might be missing or should be added to something important. Using this strategy, teachers can provide students with the opportunity to think deeply, ask critical questions and apply creative ways to solve problems. (Forbes)

Let Students Take Risks and Fail

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison

Students need to experience failure to learn. In her 2017 paper “Learning from Errors,” psychologist Janet Metcalfe states that avoiding and ignoring mistakes at school is the classic rule in American classrooms. When we don’t let students fail, we are most likely holding back not only individual student growth, but we are also holding back the entire education system. (Forbes)

Give your students a real-world problem to solve and see where their creativity and problem-solving skills take them. Let them fail and try again. This resiliency is imperative in all aspects of life.

Engage Students with New Technology

Technology is making leaps and bounds—3D Printing, 3D CAD, Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality, Programming, all promote learning and engage students. These technologies have a ‘wow factor’ with students since they are not things they see every day. With our 3D Academy, we have seen how it really motivates and engages students to learn. Students who may otherwise not be actively engaged in the classroom, suddenly light up and want to participate when a new and exciting technology is introduced.

Bring Experts and Entrepreneurs into the Classroom

Students need to see real-world examples of people in a range of careers to know what is possible for them. It is hard to imagine a career as a product designer, engineer, nurse, marine biologist, etc. if you have never met one and are not quite sure what their daily work lives look like. Invite professionals in various stages of their careers to talk to your students. Entrepreneurship is often something that intrigues students, so call up an entrepreneur and let them talk to your students about their winding path to success.

Cultivating an innovation mindset is fun for both teachers and students. It is inviting a different teaching approach into the classroom and allows students to engage with material in a more hands-on way.

Interested in a personalized hands-on approach to STEM education in your classroom or school? Send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com so we can talk about your program needs and how our 3D Academy can assist you.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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