3D Design for Education at Te Papa’s Hīnātore Learning Lab

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This post is by community member Ewan MacLeod, published by Sketchfab.

Participant making a 3D scan in the Hīnātore Learning Lab (Photo by Jeff McEwan, Te Papa, 2017)

As a learning innovator specialist in the Hīnātore Learning Lab at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, my role involves developing and facilitating learning that connects to Te Papa’s collections and taonga (treasures). Our learning programmes and experiences are designed to maximise opportunities for creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. We choose a mix of high and low technologies as we run concurrent, hands-on and interconnected activities that empower learners to choose their own approach.

We use 3D design in a number of ways during our sessions. We create models using free design software like SketchUp and Tinkercad. We also create by using 3D scanners to capture objects from Te Papa’s collections and to 3D scan workshop participants! Sketchfab allows us to collate, publish and share our 3D models. Some recent examples of our models include an annotated Kiwi and various Vaka, (Pacific Ocean sailing vessels), designed by students who then publish, import and experience them into Cardboard and HTC Vive Virtual Reality.

Hīnātore Learning Lab in action. (Photo by Jeff McEwan, Te Papa, 2017)

Double hulled vaka designed by participants in Tinkercad, published on Sketchfab. (Te Papa, 2017)

3D scan of a kiwi, annotated in Te Reo Māori, published on Sketchfab. (Te Papa, 2017)

Students have also created their own 3D models that respond to Te Papa’s Gallipoli exhibition: The Scale of Our War. These models give participants a unique way to express a range of feelings and reactions as they empathise with the stories of people who have experienced war.

Participants created 3D model as a response to the Gallipoli Exhibition (Te Papa 2017)

3D has become an ubiquitous language, medium or mode of expression of our time. We believe that participants learning to create and share their own 3D models become articulate not only in consuming 3D but also in creating their own 3D products and experiences. 3D can also be valuable in providing distant or remote access to objects and artefacts for people. As faster internet becomes available in remote places and as institutions increasingly up the ante of resolution and accuracy, 3D models can extend this access to institutions’ treasures.

Searching for models of extinct animals is awesome! Being able to view and download something inaccessible like a moa skeleton (An extinct animal native to New Zealand) is a huge learning asset. We also enjoy browsing for sea creatures on Sketchfab! For example, it is a delight to watch a student import a 3D scan of a turtle into their virtual world with vaka, ocean, stars and sky.

Ewan MacLeod, Learning Innovator Specialist – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. ewan.macleod@tepapa.govt.nz

Thanks for sharing your work Ewan! Be sure to check out Te Papa Learning Lab’s Sketchfab profile to see more creations and scans.

About the author

Thomas Flynn

Community & Cultural Heritage Lead at Sketchfab.

Expert in 3D scanning, photogrammetry, online publishing & dissemination.

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