For years, Winona State University has been nationally recognized as a leader in applying new and emerging technology. It was one of the first universities in the country to offer a laptop program, now known as the e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program, and in recent years became the first public university in the Midwest to offer a tablet and a laptop to all students.

The university’s Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services department (TLT) has recently begun exploring another new wave in technology with the use of 3D tools like printers, pens and sensors.

“High availability of these technologies is helping a renaissance of creativity, object and product development to bloom before our eyes,” said Eric Wright, TLT Learning Space Lead.

The 3D tools help foster students’ creativity and provide them with the technology to make their ideas a reality. A recent Tech Tuesday event hosted by TLT allowed participants to use 3D pens to create easy objects to take home with them. The Structure 3D Sensor in TLT clips onto an iPad mini to take 3D scans of objects and rooms for printing purposes.

To help students engage with the 3D products, makerspaces on campus are being formed to share knowledge and resources, said Chad Kjorlien, TLT faculty development coordinator.

“Makerspaces are helping people to build and show complex molecular structures, create scaled 3D prototypes of products or sets that would be costly to produce, and 3D scanning allows you to quickly build anything you can see,” Kjorlien said.

3D tools are being used across the campus, from the 3D printers in WSU’s College of Education to classrooms in Elementary Education, Engineering, Computer Science, and Art and Graphic Design.

As 3D tools become more affordable and accessible, WSU plans to continue incorporating them in and out of the classroom to take advantage of the benefits the technology can bring to learning.

“As we work and play more in this realm of 3D, the tools will allow us to give life to our big and bold ideas,” said Kjorlien.

For more information, contact Eric Wright at