Learning Through 3D Printing
As 3D printing technology keeps growing and gaining popularity, we are starting to see a discussion emerge about using 3D printing as a learning resource in schools. Today, we will dive into the benefits of giving students access to 3D printing technology.
Using 3D printing as a learning tool can be very beneficial in high schools and higher education institutions. Of course, it is helpful to students who want to pursue a career in the 3D printing or design industry, but it can be used for so much more.
The brunt of the benefits actually comes from getting students to use 3D printing software. These computer programs are often quite complex but can add valuable real-world skills to students’ repertoire. The most significant benefit of getting students into these programs is the problem-solving skills they will develop through CAD software. When working in 3D printing design software, no matter your level of experience, you will run into problems, and being able to keep a calm and level head is often a skill that takes time to develop. However, it becomes a much more rewarding skill to learn when the student sees a tangible product produced due to their problem-solving skills.
3D printer design software can teach unlimited similar skills. For example, slicer software can teach math through inputs such as “scaling” by conducting experiments where students can input different scale percentages and see the difference in the print size, which the teacher can then explain.
Higher education institutions such as colleges can go more in-depth and offer specific 3D printing courses, which can use FDM printers and PLA filament and even get into the world of metal printing. Currently, some select majors such as interior design and architecture at higher ed institutions use 3D programs for the design aspect but don’t offer a course based around 3D printing as a whole or 3D printing services.
At the high school level, it would be more challenging to implement 3D printing courses due to the costs associated with 3D printing materials for a vast number of students. However, having even one printer available at a learning center could be incredibly beneficial for many students, as this would teach them numerous real-world skills that they often would not be learning in a conventional classroom.