Modern universities around the world have successfully endorsed 3D printers in the classroom. Students from all walks of life are creating innovative products, rivaling the originality and ingenuity of high-end companies.
While many of these institutions at the top of the educational hierarchy are focusing on additive manufacturing, what about those lower down the learning tree?
Imagine the possibilities of having small, user-friendly 3D printers in our children’s classrooms. Computers provided a tremendous leap in learning potential, proof that accepting modern means of learning can pay dividends.
Malta 3D Printing’s Facebook page recently featured an interesting infographic regarding the myriad of different uses 3D printers would have in a classroom.
|An Inforgraphic Detailing 3D Printing’s Classroom Uses
(Image taken from 3DPrintingSytems.com)
Titled ‘Revolutionizing the Classroom,’ the picture explains how printing could impact 9 different academic subjects – from biology and chemistry, to graphic design and history.
The global surge in interest in 3D printing has even lead to books being written specifically for teachers seeking to use a printer in the classroom. One of the more recent additions is titled ‘The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success‘, by Norma Thornburg, David Thornburg and Sara Armstrong.
|‘The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success’
(Image taken from Inventtolearn.com)
Available on Amazon, the step-by-step guide has received plenty of positive reviews. It presents 18 stimulating printing projects – covering a wide range of subjects including mathematics, engineering and science.
For educators less comfortable with certain technical aspects of 3D printing, this book is definitely for you.
It is crucial that we introduce these technologies at a young age, allowing for children to get accustomed to them nice and early. The usual naysayers – Luddites and technophobes – may resist such a transition, as they did when desktop computers slowly made their way into the classroom a couple of decades ago.
However, provided all goes well, 3D printers can become a bastion of educational technology!
|The KIDE Logo
(Image taken from Dejanmitrovic.com)
It’s perfect for allowing children to explore their imagination, simultaneously widening their range of creative skills. Furthermore, it encourages kids to keep trying even after they’ve failed, as printing itself requires trial and error.
So often, children are frustrated by failure, yet 3D printing allows for an environment which accepts it with open arms.
It’s nice to know that messages from the printing industry aren’t falling on deaf ears. As far back as 2009, projects like KIDE have begun infiltrating classrooms in the UK. Started by Dejan Mitrovic – a technological pioneer – his educational scheme focuses on bringing 3D printing into the classroom, focusing on a ‘think-create-use’ model.
This Vimeo video captures the KIDE project in action – displaying the students’ work in a 2 minute slideshow.
|A Happy Child Examining a 3D Printed Landscape
(Image taken from Pinterest.com)
On the other side of the pond, an article by Redorbit tells us about 12 groups of teachers who visited the Michigan Technological Institute to learn more about 3D printing. They were effectively given a crash course, ensuring they return to their respective schools with a decent understanding.
Slowly, but surely, the world is embracing 3D printing. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads across the globe!
Perhaps one-day the children of the future will begin community altering projects in their very own classrooms. We’ll open our newspapers to read about a local group of boys and girls who helped to pioneer a contraption of the future.
All we must do is provide them with the tools and proper guidance – then sit back in awe as we watch the cogs in our little men and women’s brains turn.