BENEFITS OF 3D PRINTING FOR SCHOOLS
Implementing 3D printing in educational programs is highly beneficial for the learning process. Students get tactile feedback of learning concepts that are difficult to represent using only standard learning materials. Preparing students for their future careers and teaching them valuable skills with 3D printing is a high viable path that many schools are utilizing today. It serves as an extra revolutionising tool to aid in many areas of education and provides teachers with new ways of getting their message across.
- Capture interest of students
3D printing has the added benefit of keeping interest for young learners through a visual aid. The process of designing and then printing their creation both stirs creativity but the feedback from idea to creation makes the learning process both enjoyable but more importantly it makes learning effective.
- Stimulate interaction during class
Using a 3D printer instantly transforms any class into an interactive learning experience. Whether it’s through printing parts of a skeleton to use for a biology class or making prototypes for engineering classes, this process requires exploration through interaction and stimulates the learning process.
- Create tangible aids
Difficult concepts become not only visible but also tangible. Anything you would normally draw out on the blackboard, you can explain through models that students can touch and investigate from any angle.
- Hands-on learning through 3D models
Especially for art and technique classes, it is great to use the prototyping capabilities to make students’ creative ideas and designs come to live.
ESSENCE OF 3D PRINTING FOR TEACHERS
APPLICATIONS OF 3D PRINTERS IN ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOLS
3D printers are a great teaching asset for schools. Applications include but not limited to:
- Understanding of complex forms and structures (especially combined with a short course on CAD models)
- Tool to grasp kids’ attention
- The mean of expressing creativity of kids, for example, during technology classes.
- 3D printing gives instant results. It lets young student to instantly see results of their work, which is very important for them.
- Understanding the whole process of a product development, from design to the final version.
APPLICATIONS OF 3D PRINTING IN UNIVERSITIES
Research and applied universities shape skills of their students, acquired at schools. Furthermore, they contribute to scientific studies and development of new technologies. Having a 3D printer amplifies this process.
- Medical students can print human organs, which increases the quality of their training. In addition, they can develop prosthetics, and improve their own understanding of a human body.
- In Fablabs of universities, having a 3D printer in addition to standard tools (like CNC and woodwork stations) allows students to have unlimited capacities for their projects.
- Technology students can work on developing new products using a 3D printing, for rapid prototyping and eventually production of real parts.
- Architecture and design students can print their models, making those tangible and having better ways of communicating their ideas.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT A 3D PRINTER IN EDUCATION
To implement a 3D printing in Education, you need to consider the following steps:
- Prepare a lesson plan. What students are going to do with a 3D printer? How often and for what classes? This information is essential for building a good schedule.
- Decide on the number of printers needed. Size of your class and assignments involved could greatly contribute to the definition of this number.
- Think about the type(s) of printers you need. This largely depends on the lesson plan and type of classes where the printer will work. For example, workshops could use printers of several types of technologies because it gives students an opportunity to apply them together and benefit from each technology. For simple assignments, an FDM 3D printer could be enough as its prints usually have a good ratio of quality of the surface and high reliability.
- Is the safety of your concern? When it comes to little kids, it is important to carefully evaluate the safety level of equipment they will interact with. For example, if there are not enough teachers for the size of the class, an open printer could be a danger. Consider an enclosed building chamber.
We prepared several online and hard copy materials that will help teachers with implementing 3D printing in their classes.
3D PRINTING LESSON PLAN – HARD COPY
Primary Education (10 to 12 yrs)
This curriculum allows children and their teachers to first become familiar with 3D printing. In this lesson plan (14 lessons in total), children acquire the skills they need to generate input for a 3D printer as well as to operate it.
The lessons are divided in an orientation phase, in which children learn how to operate the different software programs that operate the printer and that generate 3D printable files. And a transfer phase, in which the children are applying their skills. The lesson plan touches upon pre-existing knowledge from history, vocabulary, technical, biology and creative lessons. The lesson plan is made and tested in a partnership with Dutch primary school ‘t Palet from The Hague.
High Schools (13 to 18 yrs)
Besides focusing on the skills needed to operate a 3D printer and to generate 3D printable content, this lesson plan (consisting of 3 lessons) focuses on the practical (business) applications of 3D printing. It covers the more advanced 3D printing techniques as creating support structures, using infill and printing with different temperatures. This lesson plan is made in collaboration with Dutch high school Jacobus Fruytier college in Apeldoorn.
MODERN TEACHING WITH ONLINE COURSES
Online education is becoming more and more popular, and we developed online 3D printing courses as well. These are regularly updated to keep providing you with actual information. Learning on a computer should be easy and fun and the online courses have been fitted with practical’s and short quizzes along the lessons.
Teach with free online courses
The online courses are free. This means that you and your students won’t have any additional costs to start learning. No more outdated books, or starting a lecture when your students have forgotten their books.L
The online courses Introduction and Education are suitable for education purposes. Leapfrog has created a teacher plan to efficiently start teaching. The teacher’s plan has information about what to prepare for each class and gives a clear example of how to divide each class.