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3D Modeling and Printing in History/Social Studies Classrooms: Initial Lessons and Insights

, , , , , University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States

CITE Journal Volume 17, Number 2, ISSN 1528-5804 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA


This exploratory study examined the use of 3D technology by teachers and students in four middle school history/social studies classrooms. As part of a university-developed 3D Printing 4 Teaching & Learning project, teachers integrated 3D modeling and printing into curriculum topics in world geography, U.S. history, and government/civics. Multiple sets of data were collected documenting classroom implementation of 3D technology. Seven key insights emerged: Teachers and students initially found it challenging to imagine ways to use 3D printed physical objects to represent social science concepts; students found 3D printing projects were a positive, self-fulfilling way to show their ideas about history topics; teachers and students found the 3D modeling program difficult to use; 3D modeling and printing altered the teacher-as-expert/student-as-novice relationship; 3D modeling and printing changed how teaching and learning happened in history/social studies classrooms; partnering with content and technical experts was an important element of success; and some teachers shifted their thinking about the value of using 3D printing in history/social studies classes. These insights can help facilitate the integration of 3D technologies in history/social studies classrooms.


Maloy, R., Trust, T., Kommers, S., Malinowski, A. & LaRoche, I. (2017). 3D Modeling and Printing in History/Social Studies Classrooms: Initial Lessons and Insights. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(2), 229-249. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved March 21, 2019 from .

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Cited By

  1. Rapid Prototyping for Learning: Making Revisions to Designs through 3D Printing

    Marlo Steed, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge, Canada

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 (Jun 25, 2018) pp. 2391–2396

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