How 3D Printing in Education Improves Learning

kristiel3D Printing, All Topics, STEM Education

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With the advent of affordable 3d printers like the DaVinci 1.0 (costs less than $500 in the USA), Studica wanted to see how this technology can best benefit education. We are always looking for ways to help our education customers marry new technologies with their teaching goals to help create a stronger learning experience for students. We knew that with this new level of pricing bringing 3D printers into the classroom is now within the reach of almost any school or teacher, but how can 3d printing in education make teaching and learning better?

3d printing in educationWe know that new technologies offer a "wow" factor for students because they build engagement and create excitement. 3d printers naturally fit into curricula in areas where students are required to do some hard thinking, to problem solve and to design. 3d printing in education is a powerful tool in aiding your students to conceptualize and visualize designs through the stages of development, from sketch to final product.  In 2011, Forbes predicted "teachers and students want or have a 3D printer on the desk to help them learn core Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) principles.source The NMC Horizon Project identified 3D printing as a technology that would have a major impact on STEMsource That time is now at hand.

3d Printing in Education Benefits

Here are 5 major ways 3D printers benefit education:

  1. Create Excitement
  2. Compliment STEM Curriculum
  3. Give Access to Materials not available before
  4. Open New Possibilities for Learning
  5. Promote Problem Solving Skills

3d printers also give your students the ability to take their designs to the next level by allowing them to experience the model stage of the design process. It also allows students to better understand the new "Additive Manufacturing" process where items are built layer by layer, similar to how 3d printers work. We did our research and came across some great pearls of knowledge on the subject. To paraphrase Technology Outlook: STEM+ Education 2013-2018, using 3D printing for teaching and learning is relevant because it allows for "authentic exploration of objects that might not be readily available" for teachers and students. Think of items like artifacts and fossils, these are items that can easily be replicated on 3d printers and allow students to explore these items in a more real, concrete way. 3D printing brings these items from the world of theory to something students can touch and see, thus opening "new possibilities for learning activities."

The benefits however, go much further. It appears 3D printers open up students to a variety of learning experiences. The machine itself creates the need to learn how different 3D printers work, how to operate them, how to troubleshoot and how to resolve problems. The biggest point seems to be 3D printers are excellent for problem solving and developing the skills of persistence and endurance to overcome them. Students are passionate and determined to solve their problems, check out this great blog article that talks about one student's journey to design and print the perfect iPad stand. It's inspiring.

"Until now the cost of 3D printing has been prohibitive for schools but it is vital that students are able to learn about the processes used in modern industry. We have always tried to ensure students are kept up-to-date with modern production techniques but in the past this was entirely theoretical. At last it is possible for schools to use the latest CAM machines as well as CAD." Dave White, Clevedon School

Much thanks to the many sources of inspiration we gained knowledge from, including but not limited to, a 3d printing inspiration page on pinterest, a great article "3D printing in the Classroom", case studies from 3D Systems.

Affordable 3D Printing Solutions for Education

Overall, the prices of entry level 3d printers dropping to these affordable levels is wonderful news for academia. The fact that many of these printers are plug-n-play, preassembled and also offer intuitive software makes this an ideal technology to use to enhance student retention and bring concepts to life. Studica offers many solutions for classroom 3D printing needs. The most popular is the new and extremely affordable DaVinci 1.0. Studica offers 3D printers from MakerBot3D Systems XYZ Printing and more*. Bundles and volume discounts are available for some 3d printers. Contact us for more information.

*Please note brand offerings and pricing may vary by country store and items may not be available for all countries.

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