Doodle in your School

A recent pilot project conducted in the UK demonstrated how new and emerging technologies such as the 3Doodler can enhance, shape and influence an educational setting in a variety of ways; as well as encourage students to take on new challenges. The program specifically highlighted how the 3Doodler can be used to:
  • Incentivize performance amongst students;
  • Diversify teaching methods within the classroom;
  • Stimulate kinaesthetic and visual learners;
  • Enhance the performance of divergent thinkers;
  • Improve concentration amongst students, including those with ADHD;
  • and Level the playing field between male and female students, especially in the sciences
This case study looks in detail at the goals, methods, and outcomes of the pilot project, and also highlights feedback from both students and teachers who participated.

Key Terms & Concepts

Learning Styles

  • Kinaesthetic learning – when students learn optimally by “doing”. Such students may struggle to learn solely by reading or listening
  • Visual learning – a teaching and learning style in which ideas, concepts, data, and other information are portrayed visually, with images and other visual techniques
  • Auditory learning – a learning style in which a person learns through listening

Thinking Styles

  • Divergent thinking – a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring all possible solutions
  • Convergent thinking – a type of thinking that focuses on coming up with a single, well-established answer to a problem. It is oriented toward deriving the single best, or “most correct” answer to a question
ADHD – Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Students can be unable to focus, overactive, or unable to control their behavior STEM Subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math 3Doodler partnered with St. Augustine’s Catholic High School in the UK to introduce the 3Doodler to a number of aspects of the school’s curriculum. The 3Doodler pilot program involved approximately 150 high school students, the large majority of whom had not used 3Doodler before. The 3Doodler was incorporated into courses as wide ranging as mathematics, physics, biology, business, engineering, art, textiles, and design and technology. As a part of the pilot program, the technology department also conducted a survey of all students involved in the program to evaluate their reaction to the 3Doodler and its use in the classroom, details of which are set out below. Methods While the 3Doodler was used in various disciplines, for the purposes of this case study we will focus on the use of the 3Doodler in three specific subject areas 1. Technology & Engineering 2. Sciences, specifically Biology 3. Art & Design Technology & Engineering In order to teach students about structures, and the physics behind bridge building, students were presented with a problem: how to span the distance between two blocks by building something using the 3Doodler. Students: “The 3Doodler helps you think about structure.” “Some people learn better when they see why things work the way they do.” Students were provided with limited resources to complete the task: the 3Doodler pen, x3 strands of plastic, x2 wooden blocks spaced 30cm apart, and a template sheet of basic bridge building shapes (squares, triangles, and “H” shapes). Prizes were then awarded for the best individual model and for the best team effort. The educators at St. Augustine’s found that the 3Doodler eliminated much of the preparation normally required and allowed the students to dive into the task immediately. From the teacher at St. Augustine’s: “From the word go, the students were highly motivated and enthusiastic about this new technology. Learning was differentiated as some students relied on the security of templates all lesson, others graduated to independent learning quite quickly once they had mastered the technique.”

Sciences: Biology

The 3Doodler was chosen as a tool to teach students about the structure of the human heart. The heart is a four-chambered pump that is  constantly in motion, relying on a complex system of valves, arteries, and veins. This can be a challenging topic for students. Traditional illustrations and models frequently fail to convey the logic of the heart’s structure, or how the parts interrelate and impact each other. For this exercise, students built three-dimensional models of the human heart. This required each student to consider the structure and arrangement of each ventricular chamber, the placement of each valve, and the heart’s interface within the venous system. In the absence of the 3Doodler, this unit would normally be taught by dissecting an animal’s heart (e.g. that of a pig). This approach has become increasingly fraught with issues relating to animal welfare, not to mention the fact that many students simply do not want to handle or dissect an animal’s heart. The use of the 3Doodler neatly sidestepped these concerns and gave students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the structures that they were learning about in an equally tactile and structured manner.  Hands on learning of this type was also seen in Physics, where students were able to use the 3Doodler to experiment with concepts such as mass, structure, and the graphing of multi-layered equations.

Art & Design

Art & Design is one of the most natural places for the 3Doodler to be used, and needless to say the 3Doodler was well received in art lessons, where students produced incredible creative works. The 3Doodler was employed in art and design classes as both an everyday tool and for the specific creation of exam pieces. In one instance, students were given instructions to create objects to decorate the human form – a very broad mandate. The students’ creations ranged from jewellery , to rings, and eccentric glasses that were made as a homage to Dame Edna, the beloved Australian comedian. In these exercises the 3Doodler took the place of traditional materials such as pipe cleaners, paper, card stock, glue, crepe paper and tissue paper. The 3Doodler has also been widely adopted in other schools across the UK and in the US within art classes for the purposes of sculpting, model making, pre-CAD drafting, as well as canvas work and the re-rendering of well known 2D works of art into 3D. Ms. Sharon Fletcher, Assistant Principal for New Technologies: “As part of the education focus of ‘closing the gap,’ I believe the 3Doodler could play a vital part in supporting differentiated learning across all age ranges (4-19) in our academy and in particular encouraging girls into STEM subjects.” 3Doodled concept for a vertical wind turbine-powered lamp, designed by St. Augustine’s students as part of the UK’s Engineering Education Scheme. 3Doodled heart with distinctive chambers.


Pupil Engagement Students were surveyed for their reactions to the 3Doodler. The results speak for themselves. When asked to rate the 3Doodler on a scale from 1 to 10, 87% of students rated it as an “8” or above. More specifically: 26% rated the pen a perfect “10” and 29% rated the pen a “9”. This feedback, as well as the results of the individual classroom uses, have since been incorporated into the Departmental Development Plan for the Technology Department at St. Augustine’s, and the school is exploring how the 3Doodler can be further integrated into the school curriculum, including into additional subject areas. Student Incentivization St. Augustine’s educators found that for many students, the 3Doodler was a powerful incentive to outperform. Use of the 3Doodler provided an incentive to spend more time on exercises, as well as a motivator to take on additional exercises. In one experiment carried out by St. Augustine’s, vocational studies students, who normally sought to achieve only a “pass” on a particular exercise, were offered the opportunity to undertake additional tasks with the 3Doodler in exchange for a push to achieve higher marks (e.g. a distinction). All of the students who were presented with this opportunity took advantage of it and went on to achieve higher marks. “Differentiation” as a teaching technique “Differentiation” refers to the practice of employing different teaching techniques to appeal to differing learning styles within the classroom. Examples include using 3Doodled physical shapes to educate students about the differences in structural strength. This was particularly so in the bridge building exercise detailed above, where students were urged to focus on the pros and cons of triangular vs square shapes in supporting structures. The 3Doodler was a powerful tool for differentiation in every instance where it was used within the classroom. The pen is intuitively appealing to kinaesthetic and visual learners (a hallmark of which is learning by seeing and doing), and also ensures that all students are able to progress and absorb curricular materials, regardless of a given student’s learning style or ability. Eliminating Barriers: Convergent / Divergent Thinkers In the words of Jacqueline Winn, Head of Technology for St. Augustine’s: “The most significant result is that the 3Doodler bridged the gap between types of learners. “Using the 3Doodler, Convergent and Divergent thinkers performed equally well in classes such as Physics. This stood in contrast to what we traditionally see in such subjects, where Convergent thinkers generally obtain better results. “One of the classes we noticed a key difference in was Mechanical Engineering, where the use of a visual tool increased concentration levels and helped students understand difficult concepts. Often visual learners find some concepts quite hard to grasp, but when creating items with the 3Doodler, we noted a measurable improvement. Student Focus and ADHD The St. Augustine’s pilot turned up evidence that incorporating the 3Doodler into lessons can lead to enhanced levels of focus and concentration. This is thought to be a result of the highly detail-oriented and hands-on nature of working with the 3Doodler. Students were also motivated by the inclusion of such an innovative product into their classrooms, in turn motivating them to finish the tasks assigned work. Student: “The 3Doodler teaches you to be steady, and helps you think.” One student diagnosed with ADHD commented that the pen was helping them to “learn to concentrate”, an outcome that has also been observed amongst other student groups in both the US and the UK. From an educator at St. Augustine’s: “Some children diagnosed with ADHD struggle to concentrate when taught with traditional pedagogy.  However, if we deliver teaching material in the form of a computer game we observed that there is no problem with concentration or focus, and the same applied with the 3Doodler. With the use of a template, the student maintained focus and was engaged throughout the task set.”

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