Asee peer logo

Enhancing 3D Modeling with Augmented Reality in an After-school Engineering Program (Work in Progress)

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

FPD and DEEDs Joint Postcard Sessions

Tagged Divisions

First-Year Programs and Design in Engineering Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Srinjita Bhaduri University of Colorado, Boulder

visit author page

Srinjita Bhaduri is a PhD student in Computer and Cognitive Science at University of Colorado Boulder. Her research examines how educational technology can improve student engagement and student learning, often focusing on underserved populations.

visit author page

author page

Katie Van Horne Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder

author page

Peter Gyory University of Colorado, Boulder

author page

Hannie Ngo


Tamara Sumner University of Colorado, Boulder

visit author page

I am also a Professor at the University of Colorado, with a joint appointment between the Institute of Cognitive Science and the Department of Computer Science. I am currently serving as the Director of the Institute of Cognitive Science. I lead an interdisciplinary research and development lab that studies how computational tools – combining cognitive science, machine intelligence, and interactive media – can improve teaching practice, learning outcomes and learner engagement. My research and teaching interests include personalized learning, learning analytics, cyberlearning environments, educational digital libraries, scholarly communications, human-centered computing, and interdisciplinary research methods for studying cognition. I have written 140 articles on these topics, including over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications.

visit author page

Download Paper |


3D printing is increasingly being used in manufacturing and engineering design processes. To be able to design and 3D print a feasible product it is essential to learn how to 3D model. Using 3D modeling software, students can build and iterate on their 3D designs. While these technologies make just-in-time manufacturing of designs and components feasible, they also raise new cognitive challenges: students need to develop visualization and evaluation skills to assess the feasibility of their 3D models during iterative design processes. 3D modeling software alone does not help in developing these skills. Towards this end, this research reports on the use of Augmented Reality (AR) to support middle school students’ to improve their visualization and evaluation of 3D models in engineering design processes.

We report on a 3-week long after-school engineering experiences program built around Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones). Participating youth are middle school students from low income families (n = 12). These youth are tasked with understanding the capabilities of the UAV and augmenting it in order to address a societal need: delivering supplies via drone to a remote village impacted by a natural disaster. The UAV curriculum is developed around a realistic storyline in which students consider the needs of a small town to monitor conditions of a nearby volcano. Throughout the lessons, conditions change resulting in students needing to plan and implement survey and rescue activities using the UAVs. Embedded in this curriculum are several design challenges that students must address in order to use their drones effectively to support the town’s isolated residents. Here, we focus on a specific design challenge where students augment their drone with custom-built “skyhooks” for supply delivery. They start by sketching skyhooks in 2D and end with choosing a 3D model of the skyhooks to complete the challenge of delivering supplies to the disaster area. In the intermediate design steps, the students use an AR application to help them visualize the transition from 2D models to 3D models with the drone augmented to the scene.

Our research examines how using 3D modeling with AR can enhance youth design cognition. We hypothesize that students will be able to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their 3D models with the help of the AR application, and they will make better and more informed design decisions that result in successful delivery of supplies to the disaster area. We collect both product and process data in the form of artifacts generated during design iterations, pre and post activity mental rotation tests, screen-recordings of the AR application, surveys, and interviews. Mental rotation tests will be used to determine the degree to which using these technologies enhance youths’ spatial reasoning. Surveys and interviews ask youth to reflect on their use of engineering design processes to solve problems. Additionally, interview and survey data will provide insight into student reasoning about design features and how their evaluation of their evolving artifacts influence design iterations.

Bhaduri, S., & Van Horne, K., & Gyory, P., & Ngo, H., & Sumner, T. (2018, June), Enhancing 3D Modeling with Augmented Reality in an After-school Engineering Program (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30424

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015