During February 2021, the Maker Schools project team in Bulgaria carried out an online survey to consult stakeholders about the project issues and planned outputs.

More than 260 responses were received, 55% of which from students, 40% from teachers, and 5% from school administrators and directors. A remarkable 95% of the respondents suggested that the use of 3D technology at schools can improve learning. Although most of the respondents noted that their school does not avail of a 3D printer (87% of the students, 96% of the teachers), the vast majority of them stated that they would be interested in participating in a training course focused on 3D technology (91% of the students, 93.2% of the teachers). There is a similarly keen interest in participating in a training focused on the application of programming languages in 3D design (74% of the students, 90% of the teachers).

The results are all the more remarkable as the respondents are not necessarily experts in the STEM field. Only 36% of the respondent teachers and 23% of the students have participated in a previous training on programming.

Among the school disciplines that the stakeholders believe would most benefit from the application of 3D design and printing are the Physical Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Geology), Engineering, Computer Science/ Informatics, the Arts/Applied Arts and Mathematics.

Most of the respondents are interested in learning about 3D printing and in designing and printing simple models. Many of them would also like to be involved in practical exercises where they would print 3D models of something that they study about in school (molecules, historical artefacts, a topographic map, a geometric figure that we can use in Mathematics, etc.). A little less than half of the respondents also would like to learn about Computer Aided Design or learn how 3D printing is linked to coding (e.g. in Python), and to Computer Science in general. Less than 25% of the teachers and a mere 11% of the students are currently familiar with 3D design software.

The results clearly demonstrate the relevance of the MAKER SCHOOLS project in Bulgarian schools and indicate that the planned outputs are likely to have substantial impact. They are also innovative in that there is currently insufficient knowledge and awareness of this technology and the existing software.


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