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Monday, October 3, 2022

How 3D technology in education is the paving way for future problem solvers

Throughout India, business leaders, engineers, scientists, and researchers are all navigating the world’s rapid shifts, forcing them to keep up with technological, environmental, and economical changes like never before. The problems to be solved are increasingly more complex with a faster tempo and higher stakes. Markets are now more volatile and the number of global variables that must be taken into consideration makes problem solving a more complex and challenging skill set than what has traditionally been taught in schools. Now that there’s a premium placed on advanced problem solving skills, we must prepare our kids to not only develop a strong skill set, but to also fall in love with the process and find joy in discovering the innovative solutions that help them lead at a global scale. EdTech has the power to prepare the upcoming generation to meet the new problems they will face with competence.

A basic, structured approach to problem solving – defining the problem, breaking it down, and analyzing each piece –  can bring clarity and organized thought by representing ambiguous predicaments as well-defined, analyzable problems of prediction and optimization. Yet to meet the requirements of modern day problems, we must expand our vision to teach students innovation competence, which is the capacity to generate original, appropriate, and implementable solutions to problems. This skillset is central to successful STEM careers and the future of our society. There are six main skills that combine to create the ability: creativity, leadership, creative self-efficacy, energy, risk propensity, and ambiguous problem-solving. This type of thinking allows problem solvers to nimbly pivot through different levels of detail to consider situations in all their complexity. By thinking through each detail without isolating it, there are more opportunities to discover counterintuitive insights, innovative options, and unexpected solutions.

In the real world, students are challenged to figure out difficult dilemmas that can’t be solved with rote learning techniques. We now know that rote memorization is ineffective because it fails to help students understand the underlying concepts of the material. This is why students often struggle to retain knowledge and think innovatively. Schools have the opportunity to create learning environments based on conceptual learning experiences that develop innovation competence and strong problem solving abilities among students. 

3D stereoscopic technology has the power to transform students into future innovators because it creates the ideal conceptual learning environment. When the content can be explored in a three dimensional, interactive way, it supports the growth of knowledge and profound understanding. Independent hands-on experience has a stronger impact on students’ engagement. It reduces certain degrees of abstraction through simulators and thus, facilitates the understanding of complex knowledge. Moreover, it allows more significant involvement, motivation, and interdisciplinarity.

When students are engaged with complex concepts in this interactive way, they deepen their understanding of why concepts and theories work and how to apply them to the real world in a fun way. An effective problem solver knows that unless they adopt a playful, curious, and inquisitive mind set, they will likely struggle to find appropriate solutions. The learning environment students are immersed in can teach them how to continuously find new and unique ways to enjoy the process of working their way through a problem. It is by providing an environment where mistakes are easily fixed and curiosity is the guide that students are able to test and reiterate, sharpening their problem solving skills from different angles.

Hands-on learning with three dimensional objects represents a constructivist approach in which students develop their knowledge and understanding through interaction. Knowledge is transferred not only through visualizations, but also through a hands-on experience that allows the student to grab and hold the model as they alter, rotate, and explore. This enables participants to practice solving problems through communications, analyses, evaluations, and revisions that cannot be made as conveniently in any of the individual modes alone. It also trains students to see the world from a number of different vantage points. Each of these ways of thinking strengthens their capacity to think flexibly and intelligently when faced with the unending problems they will need to solve in their personal and professional lives.

By equipping students with robust problem solving abilities, 3D learning has the potential to transform India technologically, environmentally, and economically. This is possible because hands-on, 3D learning can help students achieve innovation competence in a way that was never before accessible. By granting everyone access to a high-quality education that promotes problem solving abilities, kids can choose their paths and flourish in their careers as adults. It creates a future where anything is truly possible.

The article has been written by Kashyap Mankad, ex Group Director at ISRO, and Consulting Technical Director at 3D EdTech, the Indian subsidiary of Saras-3D Inc

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