Gloria's Final Project

Taking the first step: Using 3D modeling to enhance learning

Pioneer Tabitha Lewis shares the story of Gloria Song, an undergraduate student whose digital literacy skills were enhanced when she decided to incorporate 3D printing into her final project.

Gloria Song is an undergraduate student at Brock University, on course to pursuing her masters in Speech Pathology.  Students in her Intro to Audiology course had to create a “wow” factor for their final project. So in her efforts to find help and inspiration, she came into the Brock University Makerspace.  In the end she decided to create a visual representation of the inner ear using 3D modeling and printing.

The makerspace staff consulted with Gloria on many occasions, asking her important questions that would guide her through the design thinking process, encouraging inquiry-based learning and problem based learning.  As she spent more and more time in the makerspace, her digital literacy skills were enhanced and eventually she became a confident resource for other students who had questions about 3D printing.

Gloria's story in her own words:

As part of my Introduction to Audiology class, our final project was to showcase our understanding of the transmission of sound. We had to create a model of a part of the ear which assists in the sound transmission. I chose the eardrum as my topic and was worried about how I can create a correct representation. At first I thought about using wires and plastic sheets, but cutting the wires and bending them into the right shape seemed to be a difficult and rather dangerous task, so my mind turned towards the 3D model that I had seen before in the Brock Library Makerspace.

I only had a vague idea of what I wanted when I finally went to the makerspace. I had to try to describe what I wanted to the people who worked there, and they were able to point me in the right direction. I learned to use the web application TinkerCAD and was able to make the bare bones of the eardrum. I learned how to use the application, as well as the 3D printers. The most difficult part was to make the shapes that I have in mind into a real model in the application.

Throughout many trials and errors, I learned that having the right support in a 3D design is the most important factor in order to have a good result. Using the bare bones that I printed, I was able to add other materials to achieve different textures of the parts of the eardrum. I was beyond satisfied when I was finally able to put the pieces together. I was even able to print a small tray to keep everything in order. It was my very first attempt at making something new and creative. I'm sure I still have a lot more to learn about other technology that is available in the makerspace. Next stop, Arduino projects!

Images that depict Gloria's learning process:


A start to Gloria's Project


Gloria's Project in Tinkercad

The Holder
All the pieces

tinkercad at Brock
tinkercad at Brock
tinkercad at Brock

Final Pieces
Final Pieces

Gloria is now a ‘makerspace champion’, always trying new designs and learning about new technologies in the space. She visits the makerspace daily and is always willing to support others who just like her had had a fear of technology and no former knowledge of 3D modeling or printing. "[Working on this project at the makerspace] was one of the most enjoyable experiences that I've had up until now. Everyone was so kind and helpful and my project turned out exactly how I envisioned it. I recommend everyone give it a shot." she says.


We hope others will see Gloria’s journey and be inspired to try 3D printing for their next project.