3D Printing in Schools

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3D Printing in Schools: How to use technology to create educational objects

We often ask ourselves which technologies have had the most significant impact on education. While the most common answers currently point to computers, projectors, printers, and so on, we are sure that in a few years, everyone will put 3D printing at the top of the list.

Those working in this field must know the significant advantages this device can provide students and teaching staff. In this article, we will see how 3D printing can be used to create innovative teaching materials.

The main features of 3D printing

Through 3D printing, it is possible, thanks to the additive technique, to create objects in three-dimensional form, simply from a digital design created with CAD software using a PC.
3D printing allows using different materials, such as metal, plastic, ceramics, etc. These are deposited in layers until the desired shape is finalised.

A computer manages the entire printing process, which reduces the costs of 3D printing. This method is also very efficient and precise, allowing the production of objects of any shape and complexity.

3D printing is now used in various industries. It creates large-format objects using printers of different sizes, from the smallest that can be placed on a table to industrial-level devices.

The relationship of 3D printing with the world of education

3D printing is bringing several benefits to schools. First of all, it allows students to become enthusiastic and keep active. In addition, it enables:

  • make complex topics simpler
  • give shape to theories
  • encourage collaborative situations;
  • introduce new production activities;
  • provide skills and knowledge for future work in this field;
  • create customised and accessible learning objects.

If computers have disrupted the world of schooling, learning, and teaching over the years, 3D printing will soon have the same positive impact.

It is a highly accepted technology that has improved pupils’ learning processes. 3D printing enhances students’ practical and creative qualities.

The latter can give free rein to designing, thinking, creating and confronting the world through a new and meaningful technique. 3D printing stimulates their involvement and attracts the attention of students who love hands-on experience.

Thanks to this innovative technology, they can create unique, complex objects that they could hardly create with other traditional techniques.

In addition, they have the advantage of being able to do this quickly, with extreme simplicity and customisation. Another benefit is that they can become familiar with technology used in many professions and represent many sectors’ present and future.

3D printing is also growing in popularity in schools thanks to the increasing appreciation of professionals for this technique, which provides ever-growing databases and free, in-depth guides.

Added to these factors is the reduced cost of printers, which are now easier to use, affordable and intuitive, even for those just starting.

In the early years of 3D printing, this technology in schools was mainly focused on science and art lessons. Today, however, it is being exploited to create teaching objects in every subject. Despite this, schools are still lagging in adapting their facilities to this new technology, with 3D printers not being widespread in all realities. This may change as soon as these devices become cheaper and teachers realise their value.

The growth of services offering 3D printing, such as Fama 3D, will allow schools that cannot buy their printer to request their printing service.

The skills enhanced by 3D printing at school: what are the main ones?

In the world of education, using 3D printing enables several skills to be enhanced, both directly and indirectly, including at every level of learning. The main ones are the following:

  • creativity and design;
  • digital design;
  • problem-solving;
  • three-dimensional modelling;
  • critical thinking;
  • cooperative learning;

3D printing can reduce costs at school

In the school world, teachers use various aids to develop and enhance learning within the class group. These range from traditional diagrams to scale models or objects that allow ideas and thoughts to be given shape.

Thanks to a study conducted at the University of Michigan, this technology for making 3D learning objects will allow teachers to avoid buying them from third-party suppliers. For teachers, this represents a savings of around 86%.

Thus, various educational objects can be made in the classroom, such as clocks, puzzles, periodic tables, and models of great world architectural works, such as the Great Wall of China or the Colosseum.

The study showed that more teachers rely on 3D printing as a teaching aid, reusing the same 3D object thousands of times. This saves schools money and helps amortise the investment in purchasing the printer and all valuable materials.

How to integrate 3D printing into the school

Implementing 3D printing projects in the classroom enormously boosts interdisciplinarity for teachers wishing to open themselves up to the benefits of this new technology, which has clear advantages for teaching.
A new form of teaching can be implemented thanks to the opportunity to create any shape or object at school and digitally modify it. Projects involving every level of education, from primary to secondary school, including universities, are possible.

Pupils, for example, can design and draw toys, which will then be reproduced in 3D. Bringing objects to life involves several stages. In addition to realising the design, it is also necessary to assess all the problems that could arise during the printing stages.

Once this is done, the idea has to be transferred to the software so that it can be improved, and any errors and criticalities have to be ironed out. It is, therefore, necessary to try, make changes and try again until the desired result is obtained.

What are the main advantages of relying on 3D printing in the classroom?

The school world must also adapt to technological innovations and changes. This means ensuring pupils can access innovative resources and new techniques, such as 3D printing.
Instead of pushing away the new, teachers should bring technology into the classroom so that it can be a tool to enhance learning. Although 3D printing may not seem, at first glance, to be a straightforward and affordable technique, it is an instrumental and fundamental support in the school environment.

This technology has powerful potential as a teaching resource and has a decisive impact on improving pupils’ learning. It makes learning active by allowing students to engage with direct experience and give concrete form to their thoughts and projects.

In addition to the classic learning objects that have always been present in the classroom, they will now have the opportunity to take advantage of new resources in 3D, which will help them assimilate information more effectively.

This support is even more critical for pupils whose learning depends heavily on practical activities. A very compelling example is 3D learning objects in subjects such as anatomy, where students can work with bones and organs recreated in three dimensions. Results have shown that, in these cases, the concepts are easier to understand.

The new technology thus helps them develop other skills, such as analytical skills, related, in this case, to shape, size, the relationship between various objects and, finally, movement.

Thanks to the support of 3D printing, the real world is also better understood. Pupils can see the impact of the three-dimensional objects they design on the real world.

The role of teachers in this context is crucial, as they are the point of reference for guiding pupils in understanding how 3D printing affects their everyday lives.

Thus, 3D printing enables educational objects to be used in various subjects, from art to mathematics, science, technology, etc. These tools also have the power to give ample scope for imagination and creativity.

The best ways to integrate 3D printing within a classroom context

Given the importance of educational objects made in 3D at school, the question arises of how teachers can incorporate and integrate this technique into their daily work in the classroom.

First, they need to inform students how this technique works so they can more consciously understand how the objects in front of them are structured.

Many schools are integrating teaching with objects realised in 3D in all the different teaching grades.

There are many examples of this technology’s success. Some teachers have enabled their pupils to observe and study fossils, evaluating their evolution, thanks to 3D models.

This technique can achieve many purposes, such as the ability to create and design. 3D printing can be applied to various subjects and laboratories, such as studying buildings of historical interest, the way we are made (studying the skeleton and organs), shaping mathematical or physical theories, and so on.

3D printing is beneficial in technical and vocational schools, where practical activities are crucial. This new technology promotes learning and allows pupils to deal with real-world problems.

Here, they can study functional parts in depth or become more familiar with trades in which this technique is most commonly used.

3D printing also helps to make inclusive learning objects at school

Considering the inclusion of 3D printing in school curricula is crucial. Indeed, this technology is also a robust tool for educational inclusion and can be a resource for all those pupils with disabilities or BES (Special Educational Needs).

Using 3D printing, customised teaching aids can be created, and students can collaborate in the design phase, helping their classmates with more difficulties. This is one way of making this a very inclusive experience.

It has been shown that school environments where 3D printing has been incorporated have had vital positive feedback. The ability to access learning objects in three dimensions helps pupils collaborate better and enables them to develop better skills and understanding, especially in the younger generation.

This is why this technology will soon be indispensable in the classroom.

Does 3D printing at school have any limitations?

3D printing technology may have some minor limitations in education. Although, as we have seen, it has a strong positive impact on the learning and growth of pupils of all ages, the cost is very high.

However, as we will see in the conclusion, one can reduce expenses by relying on external printing services like Fama 3D. In this way, it will be possible to avoid buying 3D printers by bringing your project to the company and turning it into the desired object.

In addition, states are increasingly paying attention to this issue and often offer schools incentives to complete school projects related to this technology.

Another limitation of using 3D printing in the classroom is familiarity. Teachers may not yet be fully aware of the potential that 3D printing has within the ordinary course of a lesson.

This lack of familiarity may lead to underestimating the effectiveness of teaching tools in three dimensions.

Finally, a final limitation that printing can highlight in schools is the choice of materials. Prices may increase depending on the raw material required to produce the 3D teaching objects.

Why rely on the quality of leading companies such as Fama 3D

Not all schools have the financial means to purchase and maintain in-house 3D printers.
You can rely on Fama 3D’s professional service to realise customised teaching objects in these cases. Thanks to its long experience in this field, Fama 3D ensures first-class quality for its customers.

Thanks to the presence of a competent and professional team, the company can satisfy all kinds of requests, even the most complex ones. In addition, Fama 3D holds all mandatory certifications in this sector, including ISO 9001.

The company is a reference point in 3D printing, with a technical staff constantly updated on new techniques and innovative materials used in this sector.

Fama 3D is, therefore, able to develop and bring to life even the most complex projects, thanks to the specific training of its staff. All this quality is offered at a very advantageous price, among the best in this field. Affordable price, however, does not mean lower quality.

The company is known for its work and offers an excellent service in 3D printing.

Final considerations: 3D printing will be the future of schools and teaching aids

For those who are not very familiar with this innovative and relatively recent technology, 3D printing at school might even seem like a luxury item and not very useful at first glance.
Due to its versatility, 3D printing has become essential in many educational settings. These characteristics have made it valuable support at all levels and subjects.

If today’s pupils can be innovators, it is crucial that teachers increasingly start bringing this technology into the classroom through 3D teaching objects.

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