3D printing technology can be a real asset when it comes to education; 3D printing technology has the ability to take 2D photographs from books and computer screens and place them in the hands of students. In real terms 3D printing technology can allow students to study and analyse objects in front on them; allowing for learning which is engaged, hands-on and far more memorable than studying images from books and computers alone.
How 3D printers can enhance study
3D printing technology can be used to enhance learning in a variety of fields, including the sciences, arts and practice-based subjects.
In practical subjects, such as Engineering and Architecture, students can print out concrete objects and use them in their designs and calculations. Architecture students can print out 3D models of designs and analyze their structures in the ‘real world’, helping them to easily spot problems in their designs and envision ways to improve design flaws. This enhancement of learning, helping students to visually and practically engage with their subject matter, can also be an asset in subjects such as Geography, where students can print off maps and plans of towns, countries and villages; helping to bring their subject matter to life.
Black Country Atelier explains more about how 3D Printing technology can be used in this way:
“Improved learning methods: even though students are traditionally taught through books and theory, kinaesthetic learners prefer to learn through using aids and materials. 3D printing allows you to bring any subject matter to life as a physical aid to engage all of your students, for a longer period of time, increasing their learning and improving their problem solving and critical thinking capabilities.”
In addition, 3D printing could also be an asset in History lessons. Gaining access to historical artefacts is nigh impossible for most History teachers, but with 3D printing exact replicas of historical artefacts could easily be printed and used in the classroom. Having an object to hold and study could inspire great engagement and help students to easily visualise and memorise what they are being taught.
Some may also wonder how 3D printing technology could be used to enhance more artistic and traditionally hands on subjects, such as Art and Design. 3D printing technology could be used to enhance these subjects by enabling students to envision, design and print off their artistic imaginings.
In addition enhancing learning, the use of 3D printing technology could also be cost effective for schools, as rather than having to source new materials for school projects and teaching initiatives, objects and materials could be printed off using a 3D printer - saving time and money on more expensive resources.
The benefits of 3D printing technology for education
3D printing technology can help students to visualise the concepts that they are being taught and can help them produce and develop better project designs. In addition to enhancing learning, using 3D printing in the classroom could help schools save money on resources. Embracing this technology clearly offers many benefits for the education system, but whether or not 3D printing will take off in our classrooms is yet to be seen.