At Makers Empire, we’ve seen first-hand the amazing things K-8 students can do when presented with an intuitive design interface and a supportive learning environment. So today we thought we’d share 7 benefits of using 3D printing in education.
1. Creating inventors
3D printing technology positions students as creators. Instead of consuming the creations of someone else they become the inventors. Have a look at a boy named William Grame, a diabetic, who invented a sanitary device for storing his used blood testing strips. What genius inventions are your students waiting to create?
2. Bring art back
Although art is already making a bit of a comeback with the advent of STEAM education, 3D printing will help catapult it to the top. With 3D printing students become designers and creators using cutting edge technology to visualize and create their own imaginations. Not to mention the growth students will have in their spacial reasoning skills and 2D to 3D conversion understanding.
3. Engaging reluctant learners
3D printing is still a very new technology that is not readily available to your average consumer. It has a ‘wow factor’ that can engage students who would otherwise have nothing to do with their learning. One teacher told Stratasys,“I have students who don’t any kind of work at all, but they will do 3D printing”. Another school is using 3D printing to re-engage students who have dropped out of high school, giving them a second chance to graduate.
4. Creating responsible digital citizens
Using 3D printing in the classroom will allow your students to become a part of the growing online community dedicated to 3D printing. Specifically, with Makers Empire students have the ability to like and comment on their peers designs. Inspiring insightful discussion about online activities and how to be a responsible digital citizen.
5. Making everything hands on
Seriously, everything can be hands on. Learning about ancient societies? Design and print a model of a mummy or a pyramid. Learning about land forms? Design and print a peninsula or a mountain range. Learning about natural disasters? Design and print tools to protect you during a disaster. The list goes on and on…
6. Building school camaraderie
Build ties between grade levels at your school by partnering up a younger and an older student to work on a 3D printing challenge together. This school used the buddy system to let their older students shine and learn the value of being a good teacher. A friendly school wide 3D printing competition is also a great way to build school morale. Perhaps challenge your students to create a 3D designed and printed mascot for your school or even to design a new building for the school?
7. Solving real world problems
3D printing is a technology that scientists and engineers are using to change the world. Put that same technology into the hands of your students and introduce them to some of the challenges facing your community. They will learn empathy, teamwork, and problem solving as you set them loose on a real world problem. Don’t be surprise if they come up with solutions you hadn’t even imagined. Watch how these students at St Stephen’s School in Australia solve problems in their community using 3D printing.
BONUS: becoming the coolest school
You can’t deny that 3D printing is amazing. It gives you a tiny manufacturing plant right inside your school, where your students can bring their imaginations to life. Give your students (and yourself) the opportunity to see what awesomeness you can create with 3D printing technology.
Jeanette McConnell, Ph.D. is a passionate educator with a strong scientific background. She earned a bachelors degree in biochemistry at San Diego State University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of NSW. Throughout her studies she tutored her fellow students. Her experience presenting science shows and workshops to children convinced her of the value of a hands-on education. She believes Makers Empire is the way to make learning hands on and harness the power of 3D printing technology in education.
Makers Empire: Better learning by design
Makers Empire helps K-8 teachers teach STEM/STEAM concepts, design thinking principles and 21st century learning skills using 3D printing. Our pioneering 3D solutions for schools — 3D Learning Program and Learning by Design Course — include 3D modelling software, over 100 curriculum-aligned lesson plans and professional development. Makers Empire is used by thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students in Australia, the USA, Asia and Europe. Join our community today!
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