Trends in 3D Printing for students and Education

Technology Classes have long been a part of school curriculums. Integration between what is taught and the practical applications of what is achievable with modern innovation, computers, and imagination has helped to shape the next generation of minds to press the boundaries technology. Part of the ever-growing trend within education is to strategically incorporate 3D Printing into the classroom. Here are just a few sectors which are using 3D Printing and Design in 2019.

Architectural Design/Drafting

One area in which 3D Printing for Students has really shown that these printers excel is in Architectural Design and Drafting. Primarily, the students focus is on the principles of design as well as learning how to interpret other people’s blueprints. However, students also must learn to create realistic and functional plans that can be made, not just conceptualised. Within drafting, 3D Printing allows the student to visually see what he or she has in her head. Is the design functional? Does the design integrate with other aspects of the building/assembly? What flaws or improvements can be added to the design?

Using the hands-on approach to Architectural Design and to Drafting by using 3D Printers gives the students the advantage of:
(a) knowing how to adapt ideas to meet the realistic demands of the mechanical, industrial, and architectural world

(b) gives the student current technology appropriate for today’s ever evolving and fast paced world of innovation.

Building designs can be printed at a smaller scale allowing students to have a version of his or her design.

3D Printing as Part of History

When I was in school, one of the things which caused learning to be a bit of a hinderance at times was that the teacher would describe an event in history but there was no real visual in which to associate with the topic. For example: When studying industry, the flying shuttle did not make a whole lot of sense to me. From the pictures, it looked like a little more than a moving block. Now, with today’s technology, teachers of history could re-create those devices in order to give students a “first-hand” experience to the history he or she is learning.

3D Printing for history classes can be done by the teacher using a Desktop 3D Printer. Teachers can quickly import the CAD file into the program and have the part printing before school, after school, or during a lunch break. Furthermore, should the teacher wish to have more interaction between the students and history, parts could be designed by the student body and then that design compared to the historical version.

By allowing students to interact with aspects of history, using 3D Printing the student is more apt to retain what he or she has learned, especially if that child is a visual as opposed to an audio learner.

Beyond Just Teaching

3D Printing for students in 2019 goes beyond just the teaching and reaches into some of the ethical and moral issues which students are facing today. One example in which 3D Printing has shown to be a more ethical solution is in biology. Where traditionally biology has been taught using live organic specimens (pigs, frogs, and worms mostly), 3D Printing could eliminate the need to have something killed and dissected. A 3D Model of the animal is enough (especially given that we are not in the exploratory stages of biology but rather in the passing on of the knowledge that we have acquired over the years to students) for students to grasp the makeup of that animal. All this done without one animal being killed.

Morally, schools can diminish some of the stereotype lines by allowing students to express themselves through various creations using 3D design software and 3D Printing. Again, this not only allows the student to have creative freedom but encourages students to think of their world in a more creative way. Additionally, by using groups, students are more socially interactive, further minimising barriers between different cultures, thoughts, races, etc.

A Door Where One May Not Be

Finally, 3D printing for students offers a new door to higher education. Let us be honest, not everyone will get the sports scholarship, the full paid scholarship for academics, or have the funds to go to college without assistance. However, if 3D Printing is integrated into the school, there is a chance that the students could win grants from a number of organisations and colleges catering to innovative design, creativity and 3D Printing. One such grant is offered by 3D Hubs, another is the Stratasys Extreme design challenge.

The point is this, 3D Printing is becoming more and more a part of our world. It would be negligent for education to neglect such technology. We should encourage students, teachers, and faculty to embrace the technology, for it is not the innovators and creators of today who will shape the world, but those minds who sit in our classrooms currently that will.

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