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R. Capone, A. Esposito, M.G. Adesso, F.S. Tortoriello

University of Salerno (ITALY)
In the last few years, the presence of 3D printers is spreading in schools, and thinkering and making practices, linked to educational robotics, are increasing. Students should acquire digital skills that enable them to become producer themselves, constructing digital objects with different characteristics. For this purpose, a rethinking of the didactic-educational action is necessary, using methodologies centered on the students, so that it may effectively become builders of their own knowledge. Maker Education could be a considerable part of the day-to-day activity in the classroom.

This paper aims to discuss the value of Maker Education and main strategies to organize and plan its implementation, to support both teachers and students.

In this project the 3D printer use to enhance logical thinking and abstraction skill has been mainly investigated.

"Maker education" is a didactics of doing in which the phases of designing and creating objects through the technologies become central. It is based on the "thinkering" methodology and the application of the "Think-Make-Improve" cycle (Martinez & Stager, 2013) starting from the resolution of a problematic situation, based on the comparison and collaboration between peers (Vygotsky, 1962). It also includes collaborative and inclusive teaching methodologies such as Peer Education (Damon, 1984).

The experience of "teaching maker" concerns the didactic path realized by a group of 6 teachers of an High School with their students. Each teacher assigned each time small projects to the students, from the simplest, as the realization of a written, to the most complex (the realization of a cup).

The students were initially guided through support sheets. Nevertheless, In the final activities, a brainstorming and a prototype design was only shown to the students.

3D modeling softwares, i.e. Tinkercad, and a Slicer software (Slic3R), have been used to project the objects to be printed.

After the executive phase, a reflection one took place. It is the metacognitive phase that serves to fix the acquired elements by providing a conceptual framework for the student’s experiential work. The teacher concluded the course by summarizing the key concepts, provided indications for the study and further details, guided the students towards a self-assessment of their personal learning.

The creation of a product from idea to reality implies not only the acquisition of technical skills but offers the opportunity to acquire the mastery of a series of relational goals, of resourcefulness and persistence that with traditional teaching can hardly be acquired.

We show student’s results, analyzed starting from increasing of logical thinking and abstraction skill levels.