Maria Muuri is a primary school teacher at Matinlahti School, Espoo, where she has been working since 18 years ago. She has witnessed many drastic changes in the field of education in those years. She mentioned that the current education has placed more focus on the future perspectives, such as the skills in dealing with information and communication technologies, and students start learning them from a relatively young age. The same change has also brought new challenges to our teachers. On the one hand, teachers have to keep acquiring new knowledge and technical skills; on the other hand, they have to get accustomed to the ever-growing student group size as well as personalize teaching practices for different students. “If the group is big, sometimes I feel like there is not enough time to make it happen since it requires a lot of precise planning” says Maria.
However, Maria claims that the biggest challenge she encountered so far while teaching new technologies lies in students’ diversed proficiencies in operating tech products. “There are always cases where one 7-year-old is already familiar with how to use computers while others have to start from scratch”. This in turn created new new puzzles to us teachers. “Sometimes, I have this feeling that this student actually knows more than me”, Maria added. The future skills are no doubt of great importance to our students, but we also need someone who could teach those technologies in a proper manner.
Matinlahti Schools participated in a pilot project by using our applications in a real class setting. As a part of a math class, a group of second graders tried out Connect the Dots game. In order to complete the challenge, the students had to go through a series of connecting tasks regarding number sequences. They also had to learn how to play with tablets and 3D modeling at the same time. Maria commented “It was great to see my students showing so much enthusiasm and being open-minded about the technology, and some of them have already begun to work with each other in 3D printing their models out”. And when it came to feedback collection, the game won many thumbs up from the parents; and all of the students were actively involved in speaking about their thoughts and ideas towards the game when they knew their voices will be used to improve the game.
3DBear is aiming at developing learning games involving multidisciplinary subjects and catering to children with different ages. Just like the game Connect the Dots, a student gets to learn about number sequence, which is the basis of modern software development and 3D modeling, at the same time improving his or her perceiving measures. Want to spice it up? Get a VR goggles and see how it goes!
Written by Anna Mäki