[Updated on 10/01/2020. Editor's note: The original version of this post outlined an older version of Tinkercad Classrooms. We've since improved Tinkercad Classrooms so that it can accommodate any student, regardless of how they choose to sign in. We've updated this post to help avoid confusion. You can read about the improvements to Tinkercad Classrooms in our more recent blog post.]
Benefits of Tinkercad Classrooms
Tinkercad Classrooms are designed to simplify the sign-on process for students and provide educators with more control and visibility of student activity in Tinkercad.
Over the years, teachers have told us that one of the biggest hurdles to using Tinkercad with their students is simply getting everyone logged in. Email verification, lost passwords, confusion over sign-in options -- all of it can lead to unproductive time and frustration.
When a teacher creates a class for their students in Tinkercad Classrooms, it creates a smoother experience for both students and teachers and reduces the amount of time it takes for everyone to get started.
As a teacher, Tinkercad Classrooms provide you with a comprehensive view of all your student’s work in Tinkercad. With Tinkercad Classrooms you can:
- Organize students into Classes (250max/Class)
- Review and edit students’ designs and profile
- Moderate students’ activities, commenting, liking (if enabled)
- Ensure students’ online safety and privacy with “Safe Mode”
- Browse a class gallery for an overview of all student designs
For teachers who've grown accustomed to using our older Moderated Accounts system for managing groups of students, you can now find your existing students in Tinkercad Classrooms. The workflow for adding new students may be different from what you're used to, but the moderation tools are essentially the same. Please see our FAQ for any questions about the transition from Moderated Accounts to Tinkercad Classrooms.
How Teachers Use Tinkercad Classrooms
As a teacher, the first step in creating a Tinkercad Classrooms class for your students is to make sure that your own Tinkercad profile is identified as a teacher account. You’re asked to make this distinction when you first sign up, but you can also change your account type at any time from your profile page once you’ve signed in.
Having a teacher account gives you access to a special menu item found in the top bar of Tinkercad called “Classes” (also located in your account menu). Clicking it will take you to a page where you can create or find previously created Tinkercad Classes.
Clicking the “Create new class” button prompts you to enter a class name, age/grade level, and subject. Once entered, click the “Create class” button.
Next, you’ll be given an opportunity to add your students individually by simply entering in their name. You also have the option of pasting in a list of names and adding an entire class in one step. In either case, a nickname for each student will be generated automatically which you can customize at any time.
Using this nickname and the class code generated in the next step, a student can quickly sign-in to Tinkercad even if they’ve never created an account. We call this sign-in method a Class Seat, since it’s prepared by the teacher in advance, just as you would a seat in an actual classroom.
As we’ve mentioned, though, students can now join your class even if a class seat hasn't been prepared for them. We'll show you what this looks like in the next section.
Finally, once your class has been created, click the “Class code” button beneath your class name. On this class code page you’ll find the 12-character code for your class. You can copy and paste this code into an email or send it out using your preferred classroom management software (including Google Classroom). Better yet, by clicking the “copy link” button (shown above), you’ll have a shareable link that automatically takes students to their class sign-on page.
How Students Use Tinkercad Classrooms
To offer as much flexibility as possible, we provide multiple ways for students to join a Tinkercad classroom. Whichever way they choose, the outcome is the same.
Class Code & Nickname
If a student is provided with a class code and personal nickname from their teacher, they can click the green “Join your class” button on the Tinkercad homepage, enter their class code, and then enter their nickname.
If a teacher provides their students with a class link (outlined in the preceding section), they can simply click this link (or bookmark it) and enter their nickname. This way, students aren’t required to enter the 12-digit class code every time they use Tinkercad.
This combination of class code and nickname was once the only way for students to use Tinkercad Classrooms. It is essentially unchanged since the launch of Tinkercad Classrooms in August of 2019.
Google Sign-on and Class Code
Either out of necessity or habit, students often sign in to Tinkercad using their Google account (including Google Classroom). Once signed in with Google, a student needs to click the “Join class” button located in their design dashboard and enter their class code.
Alternatively, once signed-in with Google, a student can click on a class link you provide (via email or Google Classroom) and join your class. In either case, a class nickname is not required because a student’s Google account acts as their unique identification.
A student will only need to connect their Google account to a Tinkercad class once. After that, the work they do while signed in to their account will be associated to their classroom until a teacher removes them from moderation.
This compatibility between Tinkercad Classrooms and Google accounts (and by extension Google Classrooms) is one of the most exciting outcomes of this update.
Email Sign-on and Class Code
Finally, students who sign in to Tinkercad with their email and personalized password can join a class by signing in, clicking the “Join class” button located in their design dashboard and entering their class code. Alternatively, once they're signed in, they can click on the class link sent to them by their teacher and skip having to enter the class code.
Similar to how Google accounts are handled, a student will only need to connect their email account to a Tinkercad class once. After that, the work they do while signed-in to their account will be associated to their classroom until a teacher removes them from moderation.
Until now, teachers had to manage these types of student accounts using a tool we called Moderated Accounts and a process that involved individual approval codes for each student. Because of the new, broader compatibility of Tinkercad Classrooms, any groups or students previously managed under a moderated account have now been consolidated into the Tinkercad Classrooms dashboard. More questions around the transition from Moderated Accounts to Tinkercad Classrooms are answered in our FAQ.
This year, we’ve added the ability for a teacher to toggle “Safe Mode” on or off for an entire class, or individually for any student. Any class you create will have this safe mode enabled by default. Safe mode has the following effect:
- Removes the ability for a student in a Class to make their design “Public”, remaining “Private” by default.
- Removes the ability for a student in a Class to search the Gallery.
- Limits the Gallery view to the curated Staff Favorites.
- Removes the ability for a student to see design comments or make comments on any design.
We created safe mode at the request of teachers as a way to minimize student distractions and opportunities for online bullying. That said, as a teacher you have complete control over enabling or disabling safe mode for your classroom or for individual students. Using the shield-shaped green checkbox located in the right column of your class list, you can disable safe mode for individual students, or globally using the green checkbox in the upper right corner.
Be aware that some students may be irked or surprised to find their Tinkercad account limited by this safe mode once they join a classroom where it’s enabled. You may need to explain to students what safe mode is and why it’s enabled for your class.
We've also provided teachers with an Activity view for each class that shows their students' comments and likes. From this tab, teachers can ban or edit individual comments. It's also possible to undo a "like" a student has made on another's design.
As a disciplinary measure, teachers also have the option to suspend a student from using their Tinkercad account. This suspension is only available on accounts for students under the age of 13. Students who have been suspended are still be able to log in to their Tinkercad account, but are unable to use it.
To suspend a student, navigate to the Students tab with your class and click the menu item next to a student's name. Depending on their account type, you'll find the option to add, remove, suspend, or delete the student. The length of a student suspension is at the teacher's discretion. The same menu action is used to "unsuspend" a student.
We’re very excited to have you give Tinkercad Classrooms a try, and we realize you may have many questions not addressed in this blog post. For further details, please see the Tinkercad Knowledgebase support article we have that lists some additional details and capabilities, as well as frequently asked questions.