What has been just a fantasy a few years ago, has now been accomplished and is successfully integrated in classrooms. 3D pen, manufactured on the mechanism of melted plastic thread, is certainly one of the most alluring and fantasizing technology of the 21st century.
The high cost at the time of its launch restricted many schools in bringing this technology to their students. However, as the technology advances, the cost minimization techniques have also been developed, making it possible for schools and teachers to teach constructing of objects rather than simply drawing them. The concept of 3D pen is inspired by the revolution of 3D printing, but this time the technology has is diligently designed to go beyond being an industry-specific tool.
Before bringing this technology to the classroom, it is imperative to understand the procedures and approach through which the technology can be used with greater benefits. A number of researchers have found that students learn more effectively by doing things practically. Drawing has always been considered as a fun activity for young students, as they are creating something, which they can visualize. Using the 3D pen will add the additional element of feeling and touching what they have created. It can be used for drawing simple objects and cartoon characters or for drawing 3D prototypes of famous buildings, animals, etc. With the proper use of the pen, the visual learning, drawing, and observation skills of students can be benefited to a great extent.
Image courtesy 3Doodler
Now there is another dimension that can be taken into account in this respect. We have seen the use of interactive whiteboard in classrooms for making the class interactive, and going beyond the traditional whiteboards. 3D pen can provide another tool for presenting graphs and images in class that will be three dimensional. The research by Waxman, Lin, and Michko (2003) discusses that what when students read letters from a whiteboard, it does not trigger their visual cells, as it gets triggered when they see a 3D image. In comparison to the presentation display through a whiteboard, letters written with the 3D pen will have the same effect on our visual sensing as when we see images and photos. A number of researchers have found that people remember images and photos more effectively that words and letters. This is because our brain is wired in such a way. So, using the 3D pen can also facilitate teachers in making their class lectures and presentations more interactive.
The proper use of pen can not only benefit students, but will also lessen the burden of teachers. It has been observed that teachers often face a hard time checking and correcting the geometric drawings of students individually. With the use of the 3D pen, teachers can ask students to construct the geometric drawings on their desk, which the teacher can view from his/her place at a glance. Furthermore, students will be able to compare their structure with their classmates, and this will facilitate self-learning process in the class, with little efforts of the class teacher.