3DnST: A Framework Towards Understanding Children’s Interaction with Tinkercad and Enhancing Spatial Thinking Skills


With the proliferation of 3D printing technologies in schools and makerspaces, there is a need for teaching 3D modeling to students. Learning 3D modeling enhances spatial thinking skills, an essential skill for success in STEM. Creating 3D models requires students to have a deep understanding of 3D space, including rotating and scaling. In this study, we propose a framework developed through video-coding from analyzing screen recordings of middle-school students’ usage of a 3D modeling tool - Tinkercad. The proposed framework focuses on identifying challenges students encounter during 3D modeling. These challenges include spatial thinking skills, working with the Tinkercad interface, and mental model formation. We authenticated the framework by collecting and analyzing data from a 3D printing unit in three middle schools. Our results and subsequent analysis can guide educators and researchers on how to use this framework to support students in having productive learning experiences with Computer-Aided Design tools.


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S. Bhaduri
Q. L Biddy
J. B. Bush
A. Suresh
ACM Digital Library
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