When it comes to 3D printing, there are endless possibilities that the technology can be utilized. We are now only beginning to understand all the potential benefits that this new technology can provide. 3D printing is continuing to provide a means for inventors, innovators, and visionaries to easily fabricate designs for just about anything they set their mind to.
Where 3D printing has yet to make a huge impact is educational institutions. This ranges from elementary, to high school, to universities. The lack of knowledge about the technology and what 3D printers can do is mostly what is holding it back from being implemented in every k-12 system around the world.
Because the technology is relatively new and now more accessible than ever, the greatest impact for it may come from private and public grade schools. The younger a person is, the easier it is to introduce new technology to them. Nearly every subject in schools could benefit from 3D printing, here are outlines of just a few.
3D Printing in Math
There are many ways in which 3D printing and math converge. Most commonly it is used to help students envision graphs or mathematical models. Some students can have difficulty grasping numbers and diagrams on paper, and being able to hold a mathematical equation in your hand can be beneficial to a lot of students. Most importantly to math now, it brings a “cool factor” into a subject that could be boring to a lot of students.
3D Printing in Geography/Geology
An excellent way for students to better understand geological formations on a scale that is not presentable through 2D images is 3D printing. How do you give children the idea of how large Mount Everest is unless they can actually see it and pass it around along with a 3D printed version of the Alps.
If writers of textbooks can understand the importance of 3D printing and want to integrate it into the lessons, then they could include files for 3D printable models with each chapter in their books. This would provide for a fun, educational experience for students and teachers alike. Imagine printing out scaled down models of certain mountain ranges, rivers, canyons, etc. It would be a way to give kids a hands-on look at famous locations around the world without having to actually be there.
3D Printing in History
History could possibly be the subject that has the most to gain out of 3D printing. Museums all around the world are beginning to see the potential of 3D scanning and printing of ancient artifacts and making replicas, as well as making them more hands-on. Museums are mostly a “look but don’t touch” place, but now replicas can be put up, nearly identical to their real counterparts.
Now imagine if every history class had the ability to 3D print replicas of artifacts from a massive library of downloadable STL files. Every classroom would now have access to museum artifacts from the luxury of their own school. This is just a bit more exciting than reading a chapter in a textbook.
3d Printing in Art
Art and design classes are going to see a tremendous effect from 3D printing. The tech will open a whole new realm of possibilities for art teachers. 3D design is usually something saved for the sculpting lesson, and even then, making crude pots that only a grandmother could love isn’t nearly as interesting as 3D printed art pieces. No longer do we have to rely on 2-dimensonal screens to see 3-dimensional objects.
Unique forms of art are coming out of 3D printing, but we have not even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. It creates a brand new method for creating art. Art and technology can coexist peacefully with 3D printing.
3D Printing as a Tool
This new technology doesn’t only provide different ways to learn school subjects, but can also have lesson plans just for 3D printing. It is a learning tool that is constantly evolving, and it will continue to benefit schools and beyond for a long time to come.
Schools can seem stuck in the past with constantly new technology, it is important for schools to try and keep up as fast as they can. While new technology can seem scary, 3D printing in schools should be taken into consideration by every school in the world.