- ✓ Enhance the curriculum
- ✓ Endless possibilities for students
- ✓ Futureproof education
There has been an explosion of new technologies hitting the classroom, especially for engineering and mathematical learning. Currently 3D printers are used more and more as an educational tool. As a result 3D printing in education is becoming increasingly important.
Understanding, and using, this growing technology can benefit children’s learning. Particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. But also beyond these more traditional fields, for example in design technology, biology, history and geography. Advantages are the increased pupil motivation when engaged in 3D printing projects and the ability to learn through trial and error. It has a ‘wow factor’ that can engage students who otherwise would not have been interested in the school subject.
The increasing numbers of 3D printers in education is not only due to the increasing recognition of 3D printing, but more so of being a relevant and engaging educational tool. Of course it also relates to the number and availability of low cost 3D printers. It is now possible for schools to buy an affordable 3D printer. Next to the prices, the available resources for teachers and other education professionals also make 3D printing more widely accessible. Teachers can now download design software and access it via tablets and mobile phones. As well as online databases available with free 3D printable designs, for example Thingiverse. Easy tutorials for beginners are available for those without basic knowledge of the technology. Using 3D printing in the classroom will allow students to become a part of the growing community dedicated to 3D printing.
3D printing technology benefits education as it positions students as creators. Instead of buying or consuming the creations of someone else, they become the inventors. 3D printing is a technology that scientists and engineers are using to change the world. Put that same technology into the hands of your students and introduce them to some of the challenges facing your community. With 3D printing in education they will learn empathy, teamwork, and problem solving as you set them loose on a real-world problem. Don’t be surprised if they come up with solutions you hadn’t even imagined. Given the right tools, resources and support, think of all the innovative objects the students can create.
Using 3D printing in education as a production method enables students and pupils to move from the conception of an idea to producing a physical object with relative ease. The technology provides the ability to produce a part quickly, which is an advantage for students learning about design, particularly the limitations and constraints of the different technologies. Investigating a physical object can make it easier for pupils to spot mistakes in designs. This allows them to gain valuable problem solving skills in a creative, hands-on way; without the ability to print prototypes, it would be considerably more difficult for students to identify weaknesses in their designs and improve upon them. Students are now able to relate their learning in the classroom with practical applications in industry, a link that may otherwise be difficult to grasp.