Creativity seems to be an innate characteristic in children. They have nothing telling them, “this won’t work,” and that form of creativity is what eventually grows into the kind of innovation that improves productivity, generates answers, and ultimately impacts people’s lives for the better. Unfortunately, most people lose this trait somewhere along the line. Many educators have realized over the last several years that to teach students well and truly prepare them to succeed, they not only have to encourage this creativity—they have to give them the tools to cultivate it.

Hammond Elementary School’s initiative to “engage design thinking” reflects this belief that encouraging student curiosity will ultimately prepare them to be tomorrow’s (or even today’s) innovators. The school wanted not only to encourage students to be imaginative, but they also felt strongly that they needed to provide them with a tool to bring their problem-solving solutions to life. ZVerse’s LAYR technology fit this bill. 3D printing is providing these students with an effective means of seeing how their ideas will work in real life.

Hammond’s 5th grade class was given the project to identify a problem in the school and design a solution to it. Normally, projects like this would stop there; ZVerse’s 2D to 3D imaging technology, though, was able to allow students to design their prototypes in a way that would be realistic and actually have them produced. Once designed, ZVerse took one week to 3D print these prototypes in large quantities for the school. The students were then able to vote on the best concepts. The two designs that the students decided were the best concepts were a pencil holder and an earbud organizer.

ZVerse’s LAYR technology took these student projects past the concept stage and brought them into the realm of design and production—something that would be unattainable by most production standards. Through the immediacy of production and the ability to show students how their designs work in real life, ZVerse is providing opportunity and impacting a new generation of innovators.