The CogniZee Idea

CogniZee provides a broad range of consulting services aimed at facilitating the introduction and use of low-cost 3D Printing and related 3D technologies. These services start with exhibitions and demonstrations of 3D Printing, include creating and conducting hands-on activities for K - adult participants, and continue through planning, acquisition, construction, and operation of 3D Print Labs in schools and commercial establishments.


The CogniZee objective is to use 3D Printing as a vehicle for enhancing instruction of traditional subjects rather than teach 3D technology as an end in itself.  But, many 3D skills do not come naturally. 


Since we occupy a 3-dimensional world, we acquire many innate 3D skills that allow us to view our world, navigate our surroundings, and manipulate tangible objects.  But many other 3D skills need to be learned, e.g., how to read a road map or a topographic map, how to interpret architectural drawings, etc.  Surprisingly, people from some isolated tribes are unable to interpret perspective drawings, a 3D skill that most of us assume to be innate.  Most computer users are able to learn to manipulate a mouse or similar controller for the display.  But skills for creating 3D drawings and tangible 3D objects are acquired in formal ways, by examples, by tutorials, by direct instruction, collaboraative peer learning, and hands-on activities specifically designed to promote 3D skill development.  These second level skills are not innate or otherwise acquired in the course of early development.  

3D will improve traditional curricula

Instruction in traditional school subjects can be significantly improved by using inexpensive tangible objects.  Just as color is used today to clarify ideas presented in flat illustrations, charts, and diagrams, similar improvements can be obtained by using inexpensive touchable 3D manipulatives selected by the instructor for specific pedagogical purposes.  Gears will turn and planets revolve in their orbits.  The potential for clarifying explanations is immense especially for science, chemistry, physics, engineering, math, anatomy, astronomy, and yes, the arts notably sculpture and architecture.  With low cost 3D printers, the educational community can lift itself out of “flatland” thereby obtaining the full benefits of the 3rd dimension.  (The 3rd dimension is usually plotted on the Z axis rising up from the plane of the paper.  Whence the name CogniZee.)

3D printed objects enable tactile reinforcement

Many of us benefit from and enjoy holding an object in our hands as reinforcement of purely visual learning.  If you doubt this, observe the children and adults at CogniZee activity sessions.  We always have a hands-on table with piles of interesting  3D printed objects that is always a focal point.  

3D printing can expand use of tactile learning.  Manipulatives have been a staple in early math education for many years.  The availability of 3D printers opens many new avenues.  Capable teachers can design their own objects and manufacture copies for classroom use or take-home copies for each student.  Alternatively, teachers can download models available at many websites*.   Thingiverse* for example, currently has over 320,000 models and is growing by thousands every week.  Of course, only a fraction of these have pedagogical value.  But that still leaves a large number of educational “Things”.  There are many other 3D model libraries on the Internet as well as web sites* offer ing 3D printing services in a variety of materials including ceramics and metals. 


One goal of CogniZee is to develop 3D models with coordinated lesson plans.  Some of our hands-on activities do not even require a 3D printer, but still allow students to take home 3D objects they constructed themselves during the activity session. 

One CogniZee objective is to develop 3D visualization skills needed to turn ideas into 3D models.  The best way to develop these skills to practice using 3D tools from an early age.  There are simple 3D tools* designed for children and beginners.  As their skills mature, people want increasingly sophisticated tools to produce more sophisticated models.  So, there is a progression of skills with matching tools needed for continued skill development.  Presently there is no seamless coordinated progressive toolset available.  Today, increasing sophistication requires relearning  some fundamentals.  For example, some tools are based upon surfaces that do not occupy space and others are based upon solids that do.  Sometimes existing models can be transferred between tools and sometimes not.  Creating seamless progressive skill development tools is part of the CogniZee objective.

CogniZee mission

The CogniZee objective is to develop 3D visualization skills needed to turn ideas into tangible objects and to bring to everyone the joy of holding an object previously viewed only with their mind’s eye.

*Please refer to the Resource pages for links to specific WWW pages. 

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