How to run 3D Printing Education Programs: Preparing Students for a Technological Future
The way we teach our children is always changing. New technology arrives and is adopted at first cautiously, then becomes mainstream when it has proved its worth. 3D printing is at the point now where more and more schools are happy to adopt it as a viable, reliable way to teach and engage students.
We've heard the question come up, though, as to whether 3D printing is "really necessary". After all, not everyone is planning to become an engineer, right?
But 3D printing is about far more than engineering or computer science. It's about making sure every young person understands what is possible when creativity and technology meet.
A New Dimension in Learning
Imagine a biology class where students can print out 3D models of cells or organs, making the abstract tangible and real. Picture a history lesson where ancient artifacts are brought back to life through meticulous reproductions. These aren't scenes from a futuristic movie. Because of our work, we get a front-row view into makerspaces around the world, and this is happening in schools today.
3D printing in schools is more than just a novel tool. It's a door to critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative expression. It encourages students to think beyond the flat dimensions of textbooks and screens, showing them a world where their ideas can take physical shape.
Beyond STEM: A Universal Tool for Exploration
While 3D printing has its roots firmly planted in STEM, its branches reach out to virtually every field of study. In art classes, it allows for new forms of sculptural creations. In geography, topographical maps can be 3D printed to explore the contours of the earth. Even in literature, students can bring characters and scenes from their favorite books to life.
And again, this technology isn't just for those who plan to become engineers or scientists. Regardless of where a student's passion lies – be it in arts, humanities, business, or social sciences – understanding the potential of 3D printing opens up new avenues for exploration and innovation. It's about teaching our students to be not just consumers of technology but creators.
The Skills for Tomorrow, Taught Today
Integrating 3D printing into school curriculums goes beyond just teaching a new technology. It's about developing a mindset. Students learn to approach problems methodically, iterating their designs based on trial and error. They understand the value of persistence and the importance of attention to detail.
These are skills that have benefits well beyond the classroom, equipping students for whatever career they choose. We’ve seen 3D printing used in architecture, in manufacturing, in medical fields.
Technology is constantly shifting the job landscape, and these skills are invaluable. Students who understand the process of design, development, and execution will have an advantage in the workplace.
Building a Community of Collaborators
One of the most beautiful aspects of 3D printing in education is how it fosters collaboration. Students work together on projects, sharing ideas and learning from each other. This collaborative spirit is a cornerstone of modern workplaces, where teamwork and communication are as crucial as technical skills.
Schools that have incorporated 3D printing into their curriculums are not just teaching a single skill. They are giving access to cutting-edge technology, and teaching students to dive deeper into possibilities. And because 3D printing is such an iterative process, they create a learning zone where students feel free to ask questions, take risks, and push design boundaries.
Providing Students with Real-World Applications
Another massive benefit of 3D printing in a classroom setting is the way it gives students real life ways to use their learning. Some of the schools that use our software team up with local businesses or organizations, and students get to work on fixing real problems. We've seen students work on assistive devices for someone with a disability. These experiences are so valuable, so enriching for the students.
Our job - if we can call it that - as parents, teachers, and mentors, is to help our students to not only pass their exams, but to be ready for life. 3D printing in schools is a step towards that goal. From elementary through high school and right into advanced studies in university, 3D printing is a way to keep students curious, creative, and looking forward to their own future.
As we continue to integrate 3D printing technology into our classrooms, we are not just preparing our students for a narrowly defined career field. We are opening doors to endless possibilities.
We’ve seen the impact our software has had on makerspaces and students around the world, and would be very happy to show you how top universities manage their 3D printers. Book a demo to see it for yourself!