In a classroom based in CAMS school in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, students between the ages of 10-12, turned on their computers and began to bring their ideas to life through the power of Computer Aided Design (CAD). After spending previous weeks, understanding their playground needs, environmental constraints and developing design concepts either on paper or with modelling material. It was time to progress to the next stage of the engineering design process and create 3D models of their designs using AutoCADs Tinkercad software.
Tinkercad is one of the few CAD cloud based software that are accessible and free to all. We have previously used Autodesk sculpt it with UK Children between the ages of 8-10. However but once this programme was discontinued earlier this year (2017), I sought alternative CAD tools and selected Tinkercad based on its easy of use, diversity of modelling tools and accessibility. Initially I was apprehensive about integrating CAD within the love plays programme. However, the designs created by the 8-12 year olds who have developed the designs on CAD during our programmes, have laid my previous fears to rest. Children based in UK and Tanzania have excelled using CAD and CAD become the favourite part of the love plays programme for some of the children.
In Dodoma, an area in which schools often have challenges with electricity, the children were able to access Tinkercad via their internet browser, incrementally save their models and improve their designs with relative easy. Creative and impressive designs, which were later clearly communicated to Dream Networks digitally. The designs did not need to be scaled to size, but instead convey the key design features the children would like to incorporate and enable them to develop their designs in an iterative manner.
Tree swing CAD model developed by Blessings and Glory, 2 girls between the ages of 10-12 at CAMS school using Tinkercad.
Tree house CAD model developed by child at CAMS school using Tinkercad.
There is still progress to be made in developing further teaching material to help the children to learn how to effectively use CAD tools such as tinkercad and to also help children who find initial learning curve too steep.However, based on the feedback we have received from children, teachers and volunteers who have engaged in our programmes, it is an area we are choosing to invest. With the belief that it provides the younger generation just another example of how technology can be used for good.
We also hope to to determine who the children’s designs can be efficiently used to support the playground build process. Please contact us at [email protected], if you would like to provide some feedback, share your ideas or collaborate with us.
Feedback from Children who have participated in the Love plays programme in 2016 and 2017
Marie Adeyemi (Dream Networks Founder and CEO)
Watch the video below to find out more about Tinkercad