It’s all about the children at Kidesign, an ed-tech startup aimed at building educational kits and bringing 3D printing into school curricula.
Alberto Rizzoli and Dejan Mitrovic say they decided to turn the workshops they ran for 4 years into scalable projects that would allow teachers to build a kit composed of a term-long series of lessons.
Mitrovic, a London-based design entrepreneur from Belgrade, Serbia, graduated from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London with an MA+MSc in Innovation Design Engineering before founding Kidesign. He also works as a tutor in design enterprise at the Royal College of Art, Ravensbourne College, and Imperial College London.
“We needed something that allowed children to learn all the skills to 3D print something from scratch, so we mixed everything into a city-planning project called Kideville,” Rizzoli says.
Made up of 12 to 14 lessons, Kideville begins with 8-to-12-year-old students. The students all receive individual tool kits which serve as the jumping off point of their personal projects.
Each tool kit contains a brief card which is categorized around something each student might be passionate about like science, sports, or food, and the briefs contain simple requirements on how the students can build an architecture and position objects.
Once the students are familiar with the process, they build an island on a board provided to the teacher. The students then go through a discussion of the construction sites and seek agreement on which configurations work best according to the various briefs.
As the island is fleshed out, the students begin researching various designs for buildings as a way of arriving at individual designs of their own.
A portfolio booklet is provided to help each student keep track of their ideas and design sketches, and those portfolios are targeted for use by very young kids. Each contains exercises and tips like suggestions on how to use a search engine to discover building designs or how to build “mood boards.”
In the span of the 6-week course, the class develops their building designs by learning to draw them in 3D with the assistance material provided, and as the course progresses, the finalized designs are then entered into CAD to create digital versions.
Rizzoli says Kidesign and Kideville partnered with Autodesk to bring the 123D suite of tools into the project for its ease of use by younger kids.
As the CAD models are complete, Rizzoli says it’s time for the 3D printing to begin.
The whole island is created via a process which separates out the various construction elements.
“We’ve designed our product into restricted tiles, since each figurine takes about 15-20 minutes to print, so teachers can schedule in advance how much time to allocate to the project,” Rizzoli says.
The team says Kideville has already been tested in half a dozen schools, and they add that the plan is to roll out the kits and the process to many more schools after beta testing is complete.
“We’ve just launched our first complete edition, and you can find more information and pictures at Kideville.com,” Rizzoli says. “The site includes a list of what’s in each boxed kit and info about our team.”
The Kideville kits retail starting at £290 (around $440) for a 10-student classroom, and can be expanded for up to 35 students.
What do you think of 3D printing curriculum being brought into schools? Do you think Kideville will help students become interested in STEM education? Let us know in the Kideville 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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