21 October 2014

Tinkercad Accounts for Students Under 13

[UPDATE: 12 January 2015]

I emailed the folks at Tinkercad a few times in November and December to check on the progress. Never heard a thing... until last week when I got an email. It asked if everything was "sorted out." I explained that was the first contact I'd received in weeks. Turns out three of about a dozen accounts were approved; I need to resend the remaining usernames to find out their status.

[UPDATE: 1 December 2014] 

I don't think many people saw that last sentence, because there hasn't been much luck. 

I submitted my students' forms in late October and no accounts have been approved yet. From what I've been told, I'm the first educator to go through the process and they're learning as they go. I'll add an update when/if the student accounts are approved.

[Original Post Below]

Until today, students under the age of 13 couldn't have their own Tinkercad account to design 3D models. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not sure what the worry was; I've never seen anything inappropriate on the site. A few months ago, after a series of frustrated tweets, I heard from Sarah King, who works at Tinkercad. She said that changes were on the way. And today, the changes arrived.

Up until this point, I've created generic accounts that my students have used in the library to create 3D models. It wasn't ideal, but it worked. I had students sharing accounts, which became cluttered. And when someone signed out of an account, it signed out all active users on that account. I was so happy when I noticed the changes this morning. 

For students under 13 years old to have an account on Tinkercad, they need to enter a parent's email address. Some of my parents don't have email addresses, so I had the students enter my email address for this part. When the students create the account, it send an email to the parent to approve. Then, you have to print out a parental consent form. There are some obvious access barriers here, but we're rolling with the punches. I printed out the forms for each student, filled in their username and my email address. I've typed up a letter for parents to send home with the consent form. Once the forms are returned, I'll scan them and email them back to Tinkercad. It says it could take 3-5 days for approval. I'm hoping my students can use their own accounts next Monday. 

Wish me luck.


  1. Read http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/childrens-online-privacy-protection-rule (COPPA)

  2. Thanks for the link. Definitely want students to be safe, but also concerned about access. Good to know the reasoning behind the rules though.