Thanks to 3D printing, these educators could incite more interest in topics as students could see firsthand how their ideas were being put to work. As this technology use continues to grow, they will be able to take those skills into various possible careers.
Expanding Practice Opportunities
The need for preparing our students has never been more acute. Of course, many are familiar with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum and how it prepares students to enter the workforce with practical, high-demand skills. But adding the arts alongside these subjects for STEAM learning can improve students’ academic performance. Adding art assignments to science and math lessons can better help low-achieving students understand STEM subjects and improve creativity—a valuable skill for any scholarly matter. In addition, STEAM curriculum provides students with a more well-rounded and practical education than STEM alone.
3D printing offers students a variety of learning experiences; students need to learn how different 3D printers work, operate them, and troubleshoot and solve problems. By feeding their creativity and analytical competence, 3D printing helps to foster growth in the STEAM fields and prepares students to meet the future demands of employers. Furthermore, teaching 3D printing across all ages, especially at the secondary school and higher education levels, will allow for more future growth of additive manufacturing as these students enter the job market. Introducing students to the applications of product design, engineering, architecture, entertainment, manufacturing, medical, automotive, and more, can help them identify what they’d be interested in doing as they mature.
Scaling Standardized Instruction
While educating and preparing the students for the workforce, it is also crucial to consider accessibility. 3D printing holds the promise to improve the quality of education through its capacity to deliver standardized quality content at scale. Educators can scale up instruction by distributing lessons to many students via prerecorded or live classes or by providing online learning platforms to help students learn visually and fine-tune their skills whether they are remote or in the classroom. They can also utilize print-from-anywhere machines. In practice, students can create models using remote software, where if a student makes a model on their home computer, it can be sent to the school for the final printing phase. Teachers can then provide feedback in-person, by email, or on a learning platform. By enabling distanced learning, 3D printing technology can help expand access to all students to ensure equitable quality education.
Over the coming years, we will continue to see tremendous growth in the use of 3D printing in education. It has an influential role in the classroom–boosting interactive learning, accommodating different learning styles, and ensuring equal access. In addition to solid curricular connections to modern standards, 3D printing not only engages students in their present learning but teaches them how to be creators for the rest of their lives.
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