This is Aiden in his third week of Rocky’s “Intro to 3D Printing” course. Behind the shiny new prints, a much more interesting process occurs. Aiden has began recognizing small to medium words and the meanings behind them. He was previously unmotivated to learn to read/type/ or write, this has now changed. Aiden began to realize that he must learn to type in order to locate the objects he wishes to print. Rocky uses 3D printing as something we call “the proverbial carrot” an exciting motivation for what can be seen as a daunting task to many children. Aiden quickly caught on to the basics of typing as soon as his attention was grabbed by his new found hobby in printing. Our hope is for Aiden to find a passion for learning outside of our class as well. We built this program to serve as a metaphorical conduit. With the input being a compelling factor (3D printing), leading to the main objective (skill building), with an ultimate goal of building their desire learn outside of the program.

We wanted some feedback from his mother, Annette to see how this program was affecting Aiden outside of this class.

These are the questions we asked…

  1. What are some main struggles you’ve come across when trying to get Aiden interested in learning?

She often sees that if Aiden doesn’t find interest in the topic, he is unable to focus on such topic. Reading has been a struggle in the home because he did not see the importance of it.

2. Since starting this program, have you seen improvement in behavior or desire to learn the home?

Depending on Aiden’s environment, his behavior shifts. When he is somewhere that makes him feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed he becomes a very different boy than who he really is. When he is welcomed somewhere that accommodates to his needs and wants, he flourishes. “Many people don’t get to see this side of him” Annette states. The behavior that some could see as “disruptive” is actually a sign of deep thought, interest, and attention coming from Aiden. Thankfully Rocky has helped to emit all of those from Aiden.   On the topic of desire to learn, a great change has come. He is engaging in spelling and writing. “He asks me, how do you spell this” she says, which is a new event.

3. How has the program effected his communication and relationships with friends and family?

He is telling everyone he meets about what he is doing in class. He wants to print gifts for Christmas and holidays. He is extremely excited to tell others about what he is doing here. She says this is the highlight of his summer.

We asked Aiden himself what his favorite part of the class is. “Spending time with Rocky” he says.

We enjoy making an impact in the world and we love to hear their side of the story. Annette herself has began to enjoy learning to print along side her son.

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