Teaching to pass an Examination - is failure good?
Do we allow Failure in our schools? We are in danger in Education with league tables and results driven processes pressing down on our educators in schools in the UK of falling into a trap like the bad Driving Instructor: that is - teaching our pupils how to pass the exam, not about the entire subject. This is sometimes referred to as "Waterfall" which means that we end up teaching all the processes and steps to get to a point (or solution) without allowing the student to think, reason, make errors, adjust thinking and proceed.
During her Commencement speech at Harvard University, the renowned success and author of the Harry Potter series of books (aimed at children, but enjoyed by a by a much wider readership), J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.
Simply because she was once in the grip of failure too. A while after her graduation from college, she came to a realisation.
In her words, “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”
Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.
CAD and 3D Printing within education is tailor-made for the exploration of failure and turning that into success.
Plan; Design; Make; Evaluate
Pupils can use the STEM teaching process, as early as KS1 & 2, that is Plan; Design, Make & lastly Evaluate.
There is an element of CAD in KS2 STEM teaching.
checkout the requirements on STEM in the UK here in our UK STEM information.
Planning a project is not that easy, as pupils need to understand things like need/requirement, materials use, etc.
Designing is now fun for young students now with easy-to-use programs like TinkerCAD, AutoDesk123D and others, and users can quickly see a virtual 3D likeness of their ideas.
Making is now also fun with 3D printing taking the strain. Its quick, its easy, and its accessible. Most of all, 3D printing is engaging for students. Within hours even the most complex designs can be realised and held, touched and discussed, moving into the next phase...Evaluation.
If the sides are too short...if the part or model does not fit its intended application, it is easy to move rightly and properly "back to the drawing board" and in CAD that's simple.
Bringing in elements of measurement, iteration, discussion, communication and above all, creativity, 3D printing brings the ability to iterate again and again .. until its right.
Is this iteration idea all new?
There was an inventor who was born in 1847, and who gave us many usable products still around today who died in 1931. That mans' name was Thomas Alva Edison.
He was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that hugely influenced life around the globe.
Thomas Eddisons' inventions included:
- the phonograph - which was an early form of gramophone using cylinders and able to record as well as reproduce sound.
- the motion picture camera - early form of video
- a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb - no explanation required there?
Thomas Eddison said:
“Our schools are not teaching students to think. It is astonishing how many young people have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work…”
So perhaps he agreed with my sentiments here, almost a hundred years ago. However, I do not believe its our teachers at fault, but a system which directs both resources, educators and funding toward results.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time…”
With 3D printing this is possible, and that's because it is Rapid compared to other forms of manufacture.
“Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it’s useless…”
The ability to recognise exactly what's gone wrong back during Evaluation, and to encourage the thinking process to be able to re-render the idea is all part of getting to the final product.
Sometimes trying to re-invent the wheel, only by physical iteration can we see that it simply just wont work.
However, arriving at that point, we have actually learned much.
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won’t work…”
And that last quotation by Thomas Eddison was all about his re-iteration attempts at the light-bulb.
Help train our young people about how to be a success.
Help get 3D Printing alongside CAD in schools. Its less expensive than one might think, and its invaluable in terms of preparing the designers, engineers, manufacturers and inventors of tomorrow for their launch into the business world of today.