3D printing in your classroom–so what?

How does 3D printing impact classroom practices and student learning?

3D-printingTwo years ago, I was telling a friend about 3D printing, and she thought I was teasing her. After watching several YouTube videos and reading a few articles, she reluctantly acknowledged its existence with a skeptical look.

“Oh yeah, sure. I can design something on a computer and this machine will fabricate it out of plastic in a few minutes. Ahoy, Captain Picard. Next you’ll believe me if I tell you that they can print houses out of plywood or human kidneys out of stem cells. Pfff.”

It amazes me that in the short time since my friend thought I was pulling her leg, 3D printers have become standard technology in most schools.

Apparently the nexus of low cost, simplicity of software, and the street cred that comes along with owning something this cool has made it hard for even the most cash-strapped schools to resist taking the plunge.

(Next page: 5 ways 3D printing can have an impact)

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