The Role of 3D Printing in Education

STEM Education

3D printing turns abstract concepts into physical, relatable objects. It allows students and teachers to design and create a model to help them understand that abstract concept. Students might also, for example, 3D print an anatomical heart which shows all of its values and workings, or they could 3D print a soundwave from their favourite song in order to visualise the relation of sound and volume.

3D printing allows schools to 3D print objects such as fossils, artefacts, or anything else that is expensive or hard to find, allowing the students to touch, handle, visually explore and perhaps take home an accurate model.

At the heart of the technology is 3D design. The design process sees learners engage deeply with an object – whether they are designing it from scratch or working with a downloaded file. The object is manipulated on the computer in three dimensions and has be deeply considered and sized before it is physically printed.

3D printing allows students to become actively engaged inventors who are in control of their own learning. Instead of buying something because it is desirable and accessible, 3D printing allows students to study the items design and redesign and modify the item before creating it in front of their very own eyes.

3D printing helps to encourage students to change their perspective of mistakes, as they can see the value of re-accessing their work and doing it over again. Learners can have a tendency to think about their mistakes emotionally, rather than rationally, but mistakes can be the most important thing that can happen in a classroom, as they tell both the student and teacher where to focus deliberate practice.

Excitingly, NQBE now has a 3D printer in the showroom and we encourage all to come and check it out, along with some of the 3D prints we've completed.

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