There are many ideas about what interests children…and just as many ideas about whether or not those interests are healthy for them. Every generation seems certain that whatever the latest technological development is, it is destined to destroy the minds of their children. I can imagine parents sitting around worried that their child’s easy access to paper will force them to spend all day staring at it and never go out and play with their friends like they did when they were kids.
In order to prepare children to interact with the world as it is and as it will be, it is essential that these children understand and be comfortable with technologies such as those available for 3D design and printing. 3D. They already have a long school day, piano lessons, soccer practice, dance lessons and scouts… so how do you convince them to give up some of their playing time to devote themselves to study of 3D technology? By making a game out of it, of course.
Kideville is just that: a game that feels like recreation while teaching valuable skills. And what’s even better is that it’s been designed to align with national curriculum goals, which means maybe, just maybe, rather than having to sacrifice their time to free play to learning, they can just fit more play time into their schedule.
This is the idea that was the driving force behind the creation of the educational startup Kidesign. Kidesign’s team of eight kids at heart started the company in 2010 with the goal of bringing 3D printing workshops to kids where they were needed. After five years of providing these learning opportunities, they had interacted with thousands of children and had developed a deep understanding of what was needed to develop a curriculum for schools.
Operating on some of the same principles that have made electronic city-building games so popular, Kideville has been designed to encourage children to imagine themselves in the role of a design engineer and apply their project management skills to the creation of city structures. Where this game differs from its electronic counterparts is that rather than existing only as pixels on a screen, Kideville’s miniature engineers use 3D printing to bring their structures into the real world.
Dejan Mitrovice, Creative Director at Kidesign, explained the appeal and benefits of Kideville:
“Like a game, each child is given a creative mission, based on their interests, which leads them through a comprehensive design and project management process that engineers would undertake in real life. These include background research, developing ideas, sketching the plans, computer-aided design modeling, 3D printing, and presenting their project plan in class.
I can imagine that some people will be unhappy with the idea that education incorporates games as a concession to the latest generation of technology. I wonder how many children of past generations would have done well in school if someone had taken the time to incorporate a little more fun into their learning.
Is this a good way to teach children to design in 3D? Let’s hear your thoughts in the Kideville forum thread on 3DPB.com.