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Building on Making Learning Irresistible -in D&T

On Friday I was given the opportunity to run a workshop for the North Somerset Learning Exchange… A primary school conference called Building on Making Learning Irresistible. My workshop was primarily to look at the implications of the new national curriculum for Design and Technology.

The first part of the workshop involved a presentation and discussion “unpicking” the key parts of the document and looking at how schools might change the activities they do with their children in the context of their school.

The second part was “hands on” with some of the newer technologies, 3D Printing, Robotics and programming, and CAD/CAM.

The conference happened to be taking place on the BBC “Children in Need” day. So the mascot Pudsey Bear inevitably made a few appearances.


Before finishing this post I must thank a few people for helping out with the organisation, loan of equipment and inspiration for the workshop…. Clevedon School Learning Hub, North Somerset Learning Exchange and Teach Design for all the organisation and admin. 3D Systems for providing the Cube 3D printer, Roland DG for providing the vinyl cutters, VEX Robotics for the loan of the VEX IQ Clawbot.



The DfE and 3D printing in STEM

Department for Education: 3D printing in Physics, Maths and D&T.

 Up before 5am and boarding a train to London at the sort of time I would normally be stirring myself to get out of bed… All a bit keen really!… And the sort of thing that I normally have to have a good reason to do. And the good reason was that I was asked to do a presentation about 3D printing in schools for the Department for Education (the DfE is our government body in charge of education here in England). I must say that it was a real honour and privilege to be asked to do this.

 One of the reasons I was asked to do this was because the DfE is setting up a pilot project to look at how 3D printing can be used in STEM subjects… With special emphasis on the mathematics and physics areas.

 If you are a return visitor to my blog then you might realise that I am a D&T teacher at Clevedon School, but I have some experience of developing teaching and learning projects and resources in other subject areas… In fact I’m currently working on some new projects to try out with my own science department very soon (more of this in a later post perhaps)… And that’s why I was asked along to share my previous experiences.

 Anyway I think my presentation kicked off the day ok… Some of the delegates even laughed (or raised a smile) at my feeble jokes (yes I do have a very strange sense of humour) … Quite proud really as presenting in the first slot of the day can be difficult, people need to warm to the atmosphere and are often wondering what they have let themselves in for!

 But I expect you are wondering where the physics and maths fits in with all this and what the pilot project is all about. I suppose in a nutshell it really boils down to the fact that 3D printing has so far really only been in the domain of designers, technologists and engineers. This project is looking to break out of this and involve mathematics and science. And why not? I have exported some cross curricular links before but this project has really got my mind buzzing with the potential uses for this technology in these areas other areas of the curriculum and there should be more to follow in a later blog post about this.

 So, what else happened at the meeting? The other presentation was led by Stuart Douglas from Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy. Stuart’s school is lucky enough to have some very high end 3D printing equipment and he brought a very different perspective to the project. The delegates were given an opportunity to explore what their first steps will be in introducing this technology to these other STEM subjects and Makerbot gave a demonstration of the equipment that is being made available.

 I have just got home and its now 9:30pm… Feeling pretty exhausted, but it has been a fantastic day. I would just like to say thank you to the DfE for inviting me along to the day, and my school for letting me attend (and also the teachers who covered my lessons during my absence) and of course 3DS/Bits from Bytes for the support they give me (and my school) which has enabled me to have a bit of a head start in “3D printing in schools”.

Oh, and finally, I hope to publish my presentation a bit later… It’s a bit big to upload at the moment so ill have to do a bit of pruning and editing!

EDIT…. here is the powerpoint… it gives an idea of what my presentation was about, but without the verbal content it may not give the whole story.


Download this file


West of England ICT Conference 2012

Our D&T department got a special mention in the keynote speech by Tim Rylands at the WEICT12 conference?… All about the way we are using our Bits from Bytes 3D printing with students.

Rather than repeating about Tim’s fact finding visit or what we actually do with our 3D printers why not scroll down through my department blog and see for yourself…. It really is cutting edge stuff!


And of course here on my RapMan Education Posterous blog there is a load of information to browse.

An introduction to RapMan in Germany

Not many Advanced Skills Teachers in the UK can claim that their work is international. But in a way I suppose that’s what has been happening….

Over the last few months I have been sharing ideas with Andreas Seidl in Germany. Andreas, who I “met” via the BfB forum where he is known as “Normdom”, had seen much of the work I have been doing in an attempt to make RapMan and BfB3000 printers “accessible” to students… so he thought he would give it a go too. He approached one of the teachers from his old school to demonstrate his own RapMan and to talk about how it could be used in schools… and to cut a long story short, Andreas is now going to demonstrate  3D printing in action at the kreismedienzentrum (KMZ)  in Helibronn (KMZ = circular media centre).  Here is the main part of a recent e-mail Andreas sent me announcing his presentation.

It only remains to say…. Good Luck Andreas, hope it goes well and that all your hard work results in students in your part of Germany being able to use 3D printers in their schools.

Hi Dave,
Finally it is done! The official announcement of my presentation “3D-Druck in Aktion” at the KMZ Heilbronn is now online at the KMZ homepage and interested people can register themself to take part!
I’m sorry that i can’t provide you a English version, but i hope Google’s translator produces acceptable results (The layout seems to get a bit out of control)
Google Translator:
Also you will find attached the short to be released PDF invitation, that will be send to the schools soon, after the last review. Please apologize, that i can only provide a German version.
Most of the text is written by my teacher, i only provided some information and text fragments. Mr. Leuschner from the KMZ created from our source the PDF and online announcement.

Download this file


Education Ambassadors at Euromold – Part 2


In an earlier post I blogged about students from Clevedon School (UK) visiting the Euromold 2010 exhibition in Frankfurt (Germany). This has now been reported in our local newspaper and I thought you might like to see.

I would just like to say again a huge “thank-you” to the guys from Bits from Bytes and 3D Systems for giving us this opportunity.



Education Ambassadors at Euromold

We have just arrived back from the Euromold show in Frankfurt. Bits from Bytes and 3D Systems invited me and a couple of students as Education Ambassadors to highlight the use of RapMan and BfB3000 3D printers in a schools context.

Throughout the show I was able to give presentations at the 3D Systems theatre showing examples of students work in 3D printing and the work I have done in developing teaching and learning resources and projects to give educators a hand in getting started and developing their use of 3D printers in D&T, STEM and cross curricular lessons.

The students and I also supported some German universities in the “RapMan Challenge”… the students competing to build a RapMan and print their first object. As the challenge was so successful this was also followed by a challenge to print the most interesting, high quality, innovative object. The winning universities were presented with a prize of a RapMan printer, materials, and a double head upgrade.

The student ambassadors were able to talk to the university students, potential customers and other educators about how 3D printing has enhanced their education and how they are using our schools printers to make objects for their A’Level exams. The students were also able to visit the stands and see how Rapid Prototyping is done with the large machines that are used commercially.

Unfortunately we did have some technical difficulties with Wi-Fi at the show and were unable to do any live blogging at the event, however in a few days’ time I will hopefully publish a more comprehensive report of our visit and some more photos.

Frankfurt was very cold and snow had recently fallen but this didn’t stop us from visiting a Christmas market in Darmstadt and also eating typical German food in a restaurant.

We had a fantastic time and wish to thank BfB and 3D Systems inviting us to attend Euromold for their friendliness and generosity.


Euromold 2010


Euromold 2010 is a World Fair for Moldmaking and Tooling, Design and Application Development taking place in Frankfurt, Germany on 1 – 4 December 2010. more details here http://www.euromold.com/index.php?id=51&l=1

Bits from Bytes Ltd and 3D Systems corporation have very kindly asked for me and a small group of students to attend the event where I will be giving presentations about how RapMan and BfB3000 printers can be used in schools. The students will be actind as “education ambassadors” talking to visitors about their work and building a RapMan 3.1 machine. We are hoping to be able to blog our activities (depending on internet access / wifi and the 1001 other technical difficulties we have yet to overcome)… so hopefully you will be able to track our progress here http://bfbeducation.posterous.com/ 

So, even if we can’t manage to get the blog running and you happen to be in the Frankfurt area please drop in to see us and have a chat. Bits from Bytes will be in Hall 11.0 stand E26

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