Week 7 EQ How is 3D printing changing education

My experience with a 3D printer up until till doing my research is pretty minimal.  My kids schools have a few and apparently Dr. Grey knows how to use them pretty darn well to print tumor replicas. ( I know right! She’s amazing) Ha! Anyhow for me 3D printers are planted squarely in the “science” realm and also the world of bits and bobs.  I have not really looked into how these printers can impact education and for that matter the world.

If you are wondering what you get when you buy a 3D printer LeapFrog has a few options available for specially designed for schools. Prices on their website range from 3,000 dollars to about 9,000.  This is certainly not going to be a toy! Teachers with a product like this in their classrooms are going to need to know how to use it and how to make it beneficial for learning.

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This starter version runs for about 3,000 and comes with a set of lesson plans.  It features a large viewing window and prints at 3mm/s.  According to Federico-O’murcho (2014) on a much larger scale this printer might be used to print cars, build entire houses, create biological organs and even man-made food.  So are we doing diservice to our students if we don’t let them on this?  What could be the potential for students long-term in knowing how to use a printer like this one?

“As far as how this can be used in education, it’s a matter of bringing objects out of the computer screen and into the hands of students for inspection, analysis, and other processes that can benefit from physical manipulation.  In that way, 3D printers may eventually be able to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital–use a screen to find what you need, then print it into existence” (“10 Ways 3D Printing Can Be Used In Education [Infographic]”).  3d-printing-in-classroom.jpg

3D printing can offer many critical thinking opportunities for our students. But 3D printing in schools has the potential to be much more than schools buying expensive fancy printers and plugging them in. Students will have the opportunity to take something created in the digital world and place it firmly in the physical one. As emerging technology 3D printing can be used to give students the opportunity to think creatively and collaborate with their peers.  Students can improve on their creations and prototypes to and develop problem solving skills.

In doing some research I found this video to be inspirational in thinking about how 3d printing can help at risk students.  The speaker in the video offers this perspective.  “3D printing helps students to lean about thinking, to be creative and use our brains in different ways than we normally use them (Tom Meeks, 3D printing instructor at the YouthQuest Foundation).”  Through his projects typically underperforming students have found a new avenue to pursue education.  Where once school equalled failure they have found the desire to succeed.
10 Ways 3D Printing Can Be Used In Education [Infographic]. (2013, February 19). Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/10-ways-3d-printing-can-be-used-in-education/
Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2014, May 11). How 3-D printing will radically change the world. Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101638702
Meeks, T. (2013). 3d Printing teaches at risk students how failure leads to success. Retrieved June 30, 2016 from: https://youtu.be/7qLiIukEaG8

5 thoughts on “Week 7 EQ How is 3D printing changing education

  1. akmathteacher says:

    Wow!! I never realized that 3D printers would be expensive. $3000 for a for a basic is a lot more than my schools Technology budget would allow. I would love a 3D printer in my HS but I can’t see our district supporting it at that price. Materials the printer uses may also be expensive to get in the bush.


  2. ruralakteacher says:

    I am in the same boat about 3D printers being a little out of my thought process sometimes. Let’s just say I am not going to run to my district yet and tell them I want one but the printers would bring an amazing realm to a science room! I think it would be great to print realistic organs to use in a dissection rather than have to hunt down a farm grown cow heart. Also, it has been my experience that some students can get a little squeamish about real dissections. I wonder if cutting up something they “printed” would make it easier?


  3. triciaturley05 says:

    In the video you posted, the man said at about 5:05, “3D printing is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. And that end is to grow our brains.” I really appreciate this quote, since I feel like there is a lot of hype around these 3D printers. This man highlights the purpose for educators to use 3D printers.


  4. daysha2016 says:

    If 3D printers cost that much the first five things I would print would more 3D printers! That way if the first one breaks I don’t cry! 3D printers would be really fun to have in the classroom. I love the idea of printing models to have hands on activities. However, I believe that learning and creating process that go into building any object is really the true value of this piece of technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah K says:

    I love this sentence, “Students will have the opportunity to take something created in the digital world and place it firmly in the physical one.” I think that is one of the awesome things about 3D printing in chemistry. The atoms we talk about are so hard to visualize, so being able to print them and bring them into our world so students can touch them and manipulate them could help them in understanding more than they can without a 3D printed model. The creativity aspect is also nice because sometimes its hard for students to be creative in a chemistry classroom, so this could be a nice outlet for them.


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