The school has developed dramatically since I was younger access to technology has increased and children are exposed to more than ever in my youth but is it enough?
We must teach our children to think and think critically because although the content we teach them now at school is important to their growth the ability to motivate implement and solve problems is equally important. What is this about 3D printing?
Implementing 3D printing is not about training our children as 3D printers; its not about training our children necessarily about how a 3D printer works even though this is fascinating. It is rather that our children have access to tools to better explore and understand their world. Good learning is a combination of verbal visual and tactile and in many cases it is almost impossible to create tactile learning tools 3D Printing addresses this.
3D printing can be used to inspire entrepreneurship can be used to better understand the physical world and understand abstract concepts. Therefore we must actively sponsor the implementation of 3D printing in Australian schools.
What will the students print?
Typically when planning 3D printing the obvious areas of Design and Technology but 3D Printing have the advantages to offer to enhance understanding in many areas.
Geography Geology 3D printers can be used to print geological shapes print maps of the local environment understand abstract concepts like the water cycle
History Print copies of historical artifacts understand the difference between modern and historical things print dioramas to explain settlements battles and create noelectric machines
Art print famous sculptures designs and print sculptures designs and inks and embossing stamps
Cooking Design and print cookie cutters molds and iccream tips
Mathematics Print Tools to teach complex concepts pressure counters teach geometry beauty and create 3D solids for teaching volume
Engineering Printed parts for mechanized robots functional parts of different constructions
Do students need to be CAtrained in favor?
CAD skills are not critical but if you already learn CAD skills 3D printing this education increases by allowing the student to create a physical object from his digital modeling thus cementing the learning experience and making the goal of learning more functional but CA skills are not required to benefit from 3D printing.
Although CAD skills are not required to benefit from a 3D printer there are many free and easy resources for CAD teaching and the list below can never be complete as these resources grow almost every week.
Thingiverse easy to use allows students to customize remix and inspire
Tinkercad easy to use enables easy training of CAD skills in reality
MakerBot Printshop easy to use drag and drop design
3D Slash simple Minecraft style functionality real world CAD skills can be learned
Is 3D printing complicated to implement?
No it is not. Tasman 3D printers thanks to Stratasys and MakerBot provide many excellent resources for teachers with access to files software and training tools and various software vendors provide free CAD programs for children to learn.
My recommendation is to treat a 3D printer the same way you would treat a copier or printer and give access to the public school by adding it in a common resource area the library is a good example. Its easy to use and not absorb library resources but putting it in a common area allows the public to access the printer generate excitement at all levels at the school and will ensure it is used. There is nothing more exciting for students even if its not their parts than seeing finished items come from a printer.
3D printers like many other devices fall under the category. The more you pay the more you get and in this case the more you pay you will get peace and know that your device will work as expected.
Quality 3D printer for education varies between A $ 2500 all the way up to A $ 30000 and which printer you choose will depend on budget needs and planned curriculum.