A little change in perspective

First things first: I’m so happy to be back here in this space! I have missed blogging and what it has meant to me over the past few years — a place to reflect on my teaching, learning, and experiences. When I went on maternity leave last year, I had every intention of continuing to follow the Cohort 21 blogs, and maybe even be a rockstar like @ckirsh and blog while I was off. However, those good intentions fell by the wayside in the day to day business of caring for a baby, and I quickly found myself pretty far from a headspace that had much room for professional development and professional reflections. But, I’m back at it now, and in a new job to boot, and I am so excited to renew my lease on this little corner of the internet, as it were.

Last week, I started an exciting project working with all of the grade 8 history classes to create individual 3D artefacts for a museum exhibit featuring four ancient civilizations. We introduced students to Tinkercad and to the design tools available there, and provided them with a starting point of a template and an alphabet appropriate to their chosen ancient civilization. To their artefact, students would add their name in their ancient lettering – a nice, quick introduction to a beautifully simple piece of software with a major cool factor. So far, it has been a huge success, allowing many students who perhaps don’t typically get excited about history class to  get caught saying to a classmate, “This is so cool!” I also got to witness many occasions of students eagerly helping each other and problem solving together.

For some students, the shift from working in 2D to 3D was a huge challenge. Students who play video games tended to easily adapt to the 3D environment, but a few found it quite disorienting. The additional plane was something that was sometimes forgotten.

One student believed she was finished and ready to export her project, but when I asked her to show me her object from the front, she realized that she still had work to do!

There are also a lot of tools to use on any given object – resize tools on every side and corner, plus three different rotation tools, a tool to raise/lower your object, and a tool to change the thickness of the object.

There are multiple options for interacting with an object in Tinkercad. But sometimes, depending on your viewpoint, certain tools can be hard to see.

When working with one student who was struggling to rotate his letter on the right plane, we realized that because of the angle at which he was looking at the object, the rotate tool that he needed was hidden behind the letter itself. By changing his viewpoint, he was able to see and use the tool that he needed. As we figured out the solution, I realized that there might be value in that message.

Sometimes you need to change your perspective in order to find what you need.

I know that for me, I can already see that the change in perspective, brought about by my new position, has helped me to renew my passion for my job and find more joy in what I do. Being a mom to a 14-month old has also drastically shifted my perspective on pretty much everything.

But what about you? Do you need to move to higher ground to see things more clearly? Or do you need to move around the back of a problem in order to find a solution?