Integrating 3D Printing into an Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Course: Reflections on Practice

February, 2017

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Vol. 38, No. 1, 39–51, 2017
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article examines the potential of 3D printing. The authors used a creativity course for preservice teachers to explore the printing's potential.

The participants were 19 preservice early childhood educators, who enrolled a master’s-level course in a university in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
The authors introduced three-dimensional printing (3D printing) to the participants in a 2-hour workshop during their summer course, Creativity and the Arts in Early and Elementary Education. The authors requested the participants to complete a printed object.
The participants were also required to complete a journal prompt as part of the course, but they were not specifically told to write about the 3D printing workshop. The participants created their projects in 3D laboratory.

The attitudes and dispositions of the participants throughout the workshop showed that it was a valuable learning experience for them.

At the end of the experience, the participants were seeing how 3D printing could align with play and problem solving through play that happens daily in early childhood settings.
After the time spent in this project, the students could see how this experience help them viewing multiple perspectives and solutions to teach art.
The authors argue that preserivce teachers' reflections also indicated an overwhelmingly high regard for the 3D printing experience. They indicate that the positive feedback was also evident in the course evaluation.

The authors conclude that three-dimensional printing, as an example of technology for young children, has the potential to fill a unique niche in educational settings. 

Updated: Oct. 18, 2018