We cover a lot of projects on Kickstarter, and it’s always amazing to see them take off the way the 3Doodler 3D printing pen has taken off. Recently, the pen has been gathering interest from a number of educators and educational organizations in the United Arab Emirates, who see it as a promising tool in getting kids interested in science, technology and art. The 3Doodler was recently on display at the 3D printing pavilion at the 2015 Dubai Airshow, which took place from November 8 to 12–and featured some high-flying debuts, including the world’s fastest, first jet-powered 3D printed UAV and the launch of jet packs made using 3D printed components. Maxwell Bogue, founder of WobbleWorks, the company behind the 3Doodler, said at the airshow that schools have been using it to teach everything from physics and geometry to sculpture and design.
The 3DBee is an online platform that also distributes the 3Doodler. Business development and marketing manager Smira Ahmed said that local schools have been expressing interest in adding the pen to their classrooms.
“At my son’s school in Jumeirah, they have it in their robotics design after-school club,” she said. “We’re also in negotiations with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and we’re looking to get it into the local school system. There’s a lot of interest. It’s getting teachers excited.”
Several educational programs have already been using the pen to teach kids about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subject areas, as well as introduce them to 3D printing. Recently, the Sharjah Girl Guides, an organization that offers educational and extracurricular activities for young girls, hosted a 3Doodler workshop. Other events where the pen has made an appearance include the Innovation Hub Spring Camp and Think Science 2015.
Shreya Beas, a fifth grader at Indian High School in Dubai, has been using a 3Doodler and loves it.
“It’s not difficult to use, and it’s very easy to understand,” she said. “It’s very interesting and exciting, and you can make whatever you want with it. I have made a guitar, a bicycle, all sorts of different models, and even the Eiffel Tower. My father told me about it and took me for a training session at his office. We can use it for many things. It’s an innovative tool for designing science models. That’s what I do. You can clearly make every stage. Since it’s in 3D, people can see it, examine it, and understand it.”
Ahmed believes that the 3Doodler is just the first step in the adoption of 3D printing technology in UAE schools.
“With something like this where you add an element of creativity, all of a sudden girls are also interested in engineering, like putting together a bridge, and boys who like to see exactly what they’re doing don’t lose interest,” she said. “This is also just a step before actually introducing 3D printers, which are just around the corner. 3D printers are going to be in schools eventually, probably sooner than later.”