The heady notion of 3D printing for education creates an interesting marriage between smart toys and STEM. We can already find tons of examples of how 3D printing can benefit the world at large. We can also think of some examples of 3D printing that are, if nothing else, aesthetically mind-blowing.
But when it comes to 3D printing and education, we’re just now beginning to really see the benefits. This is largely because the costs involved with 3D printing made it a prohibitive measure for most schools. While that is still the case to a certain extent, the technology behind 3D printing is becoming more affordable (Wellbots can help with that). As time goes on, we can expect to see schools use 3D printing in the classroom in some truly thrilling ways.
At the moment, smaller, simple objects can be created in just a few minutes. The larger, more intricate items take longer, varying amounts of time. We can presently make objects out of plastic and stainless steel. There are also some pretty incredible things being done with medical grade titanium.
Did you know that 3D printers have actually been around for over 30 years? It’s true. Only in the past few years have the costs become less prohibitive. Schools are just now beginning to take advantage of this extraordinary technology. As time goes on, the hope is that 3D printing will become accessible to schools in low-income areas. The ability to code and create can give educators a powerful tool for showing our children the larger world. At the same time, we can also imagine giving children the opportunity to work with 3D printing. From both a creative and practical standpoint, this is the kind of technology that can prove to truly empower children.
We can already see examples of STEM toys that are utilizing smart technology. 3D printing represents a truly intriguing notion to that end. Rather than simply explaining something, or directing the children to examine something through a screen, 3D printing will be able to give teachers physical examples to utilize in the classroom. Teachers can also direct children to create examples of their own, which can prove to be beneficial on a couple of different levels.
The technology still has a little ways to go. But there is no question that we’ll get there soon. Furthermore, we can see the possibilities with 3D printing for every grade. This would even include the high school level.