Taking 3D printing to schools and communities.

Creative Pathways

3D printing is not only an exciting manufacturing, prototyping and visualisation technology, it is also proving to be an exciting educational tool for hands-on learning. MADE graduate and Pasifika Engagement Advisor to the VUW Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation, Lionel Taito-Matamua is also the founder of the Creative Pathways outreach programme; an innovative STEM teaching programme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) that combines emerging 3D-printing technologies with tactile learning, science curricula, design and the practices of “talanoa” (or participatory processes for sharing indigenous knowledge) and “fa’a Samoa” (or community building). Secondary school students use 3D printing and intuitive software to explore an endless range of STEM topics, from the mathematics of solid geometries, to pathogens and the physics of heat transfer. Creative Pathways was launched in 2015 at several secondary schools in the Wellington region with a high Māori/Pacific demographic. The pilot has enjoyed considerable success and more than 20 teaching modules have been delivered over four years to six secondary schools as well as a number of community groups.

Moana Innovative learning: Creative STEM Pathways

In 2021, Lionel and his team received funding from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples Toloa Kenese Fund. This funding will enable the team to build on these early successes and develop a sustainable teaching programme that is tracked and analysed in a parallel educational impact research programme. The two programmes will inform each other and validate the pedagogical framework while allowing an evidence-based exploration of 3D printing and tactile learning for STEM education and Māori/Pasifika students.  Re-named as Moana Innovative Learning: Creative STEM Pathways, it also supports a long-term aspiration to extend the programme across a wider range of student age groups and ethnicities, implement it nationwide, and ultimately to expand it into the greater Pacific region. From Lionel’s perspective; “Being Samoan, I love to give back to the community and get the communities involved in the work I do, and what I’m passionate about”.

The Moana Innovative Learning initiative is a collaboration between the VUW School of Design Innovation, the VUW Faculty of Education and the VUW Pasifika Student Success team. It is supported by the MPP Toloa Kenese Fund and the New Zealand Product Accelerator.

The Moana Innovative Learning team includes:

  • Lionel Taito-Matamua,Pasifika Engagement Advisor, VUW Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation
  • Dr. Cherie Chu-Fuluifaga, VUW School of Education
  • Petone Groom, UX Designer, Vain Creative

Supported by: Ash Aiono, Maggie Flavell, Simon Fraser, Jeongbin Ok.