Technology Tools in Higher Education Science

Tool #7

  • SketchUp and Tinkercad

  • Description: SketchUp and Tinkercad are both valuable tools for science education, as they enable students to generate visual representations of scientific concepts or phenomena, which can enhance their comprehension of complex ideas. Both represent modeling software that allows learners to actively participate in scientific concepts in an interactive and captivating manner. Using modeling software enables learners to foster their analytical, problem-solving, and innovative abilities while acquiring knowledge on topics related to science and engineering to cultivate practical proficiencies that possess practical utility across a multitude of disciplines (Shen et al., 2023; Sandrone et al., 2021).

  • Three Benefits: SketchUp and Tinkercad offer advantages when used in science instruction since it can 1) increase student engagement and understanding by enabling the creation of 3D models of scientific concepts or experiments, helping students to comprehend complex scientific ideas better, 2) help students develop practical skills in 3D modeling and design thinking, which are valuable in fields beyond science, and 3) provide hands-on learning experiences that allow students to explore scientific concepts or experiments safely in a virtual environment without it being too risky, expensive, or time-consuming (Mella-Norambuena et al., 2021; Shen et al., 2023).

  • Classroom Application: SketchUp and Tinkercad can enhance science instruction by providing students an interactive and engaging way to explore scientific concepts and phenomena. In the classroom, both modeling software help facilitate collaborative group projects among students by enabling them to share their 3D models, foster teamwork skills, and encourage peer feedback. In addition, students can leverage these tools to develop visualizations of scientific data, like graphs or charts, thereby improving their ability to comprehend and analyze such information (Shen et al., 2023).

  • Academic Integrity: Instructors can take measures to address academic integrity concerns when utilizing modeling software such as SketchUp and Tinkercad in scientific instruction. For example, instructors can include peer review sessions to give students feedback on each other's designs. This not only encourages teamwork and communication but also enables students to detect resemblances or potential occurrences of inappropriate use of existing designs. Another strategy is to employ plagiarism detection tools or image recognition software to identify instances of copying or unauthorized use of existing models or designs.