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August 16, 2018

3D printers in the classroom

3D printing has really come into its own in the past few years, with applications in every field; from creating prosthetics, engineering mechanical parts, and bringing to life anything your mind can come up with, you are only limited by your imagination!

‘Gartner’ (the world’s leading market research firm) predicts medical 3D printing to be mainstream within the next 5 years, while global giants such as Ford, General Electric, and Johnson & Johnson have already begun the process of incorporating the technology, so why not introduce the technology and its capabilities at an earlier age? That potentiality for creativity is why 3D printing is fast becoming a valued educational medium, even before students reach the college level.

3D printers are a revolutionary tool, with massive potential; The technology enables students to bring an idea from theory to realization, educating them about the manufacturing process, and taking hands on learning to a completely different standard.

Interacting with 3D models requires a certain degree of engagement; giving life to a notion not only inspires but cultivates and promotes creativity. This added interplay takes a student’s perception of concept and allows for a genuine understanding of the broader sense it can be applied to, it’s real-world solutions and applications. Subjects like Physics, Maths, Geometry, Biology, etc become accessible and are no longer the dreaded pits of confusion and incomprehension. Teacher’s will no longer have to struggle to find the answer to “When will I ever use this?”

3D Printing for Schools

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3D printing has already been integrated across several school districts internationally, with some institutions even revamping their entire curriculum, building it around ‘project-based learning’.

A group of high school students in Leander, Texas using a 3D printer were able to create a prosthetic hand for a toddler born with a cleft hand. Classes in J. H. Rose High School in North Carolina use 3D printing to produce toy drag racers for an exercise in aerodynamics, iPod speakers, and robot parts, etc. Even students at a pre-kindergarten class at the Willian Penn Carter School in Philadelphia were able to print their own nest designs for a lesson in birds.

The subsequent successes and potential of the technology has influenced researchers into investigating the possibilities 3D printing holds for students with learning disabilities or visual impairments through ‘tactile learning’, such as 3D learning objects, 3D historical maps, etc.

Being able to bring their own designs and ideas to fruition motivates students in a way that the unilateral use of dry, text-book lessons never could. Not only is it an enjoyable learning experience, but a truly rewarding educating opportunity. Teachers can cultivate their students’ creativity, inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists, engineers, designers and artists. This explosive development and its ensuing wave of enthusiasm is why schools K-12 are investing in 3D printers.

ATLAB & XYZ Printers

ATLAB was the first establishment to bring 3D printers to the region back in November, 2017 as an addition to their hands-on learning program. Part of the Centena group, ATLAB provides innovative, technology-based solutions for applied learning and training. Their line of XYZ printers offers a diverse range of affordable options for schools, institutes, and training academies in every sector.

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