The technology of 3D printing has been there in the market for quite some time now. It has impacted some of the industries in a very positive way. This technology has changed the dynamics if consumer culture by transforming users from being passive consumers to active creators. Even though the technology has been around for a decade now, it has not been able to penetrate into the mainstream market. As an effort to being the 3D printing technology into the mainstream, manufacturers of this technology are targeting the education sector to achieve this ambition of theirs. The inclusion of this technology in the curriculum of schools and colleges will increase the awareness among people about it and also enable them to master this technology right from the childhood.
The principle question in all this that exactly how beneficial will 3D printing, be in the education sector. Schools as of now are in the embryonic stage to adapt to this technology but surely 3D printing will surely revolutionize the education sector. It will empower the teachers with a three dimensional model which will act as visual aids that can be used in the class while teaching or illustrating on a topic. This will undoubtedly increase the level of understanding for the student and also increase the grasping power. The attention of the students will be more in the class as the visual aids will make the subject interesting as compared to pictorial representation that is used nowadays. This technology will be very helpful for students belonging to the engineering, architecture and multi media arts as creation of 3D mini models will be possible with the click of a button. All these will bring into the classroom a culture that is very interactive which in turn will make the class interesting. 3D printing for education will undoubtedly add value in teaching a wide range of skills. The amalgamation of 3D printing and education is unique because it brings in the mindset of experimentation and the student becomes very comfortable with this idea in the learning process. It gives students the ability and freedom to design, test an engineer their own projects and also contribute to the digital manufacturing sector. Almost all the subjects can be dealt with the help of 3D printers. Subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Physics, Design, Art, Law, Ethics, Psychology and Anthropology as well as several other fields which require physical models for illustrating situations 3D printers can be used.
If all these attributes are kept in mind, 3D printing does have some promising and ground breaking innovation that is bound to take the entire teaching and learning experience to a whole new level. This also gives the students a jump start to tomorrow’s challenges. Many countries have started to use this technology as a part of their curriculum. Across Australia and New Zealand depends on cheap and affordable 3d printers. College departments such as Engineering, Computer Science, Architecture and Industrial Design depend heavily on 3D printing. Fields such as engineering require the students to be inspired towards the field in order to do something that is ground breaking. The starting of the engineering education is theory based which makes students detached from the subject so if students are exposed to the breath taking world of 3D printing, they are bound to be engineers who are far sighted, have the capacity to think out of the box and also have a problem solving attitude.
The leading 3D printer manufacturing company MakerBot has developed a 3D student curriculum as a proto-type in the schools of New York. The CEO of MakerBot Bre Pettis wants students to have an invention machine in schools that would turn their imagination into reality and if the idea doesn’t print well in the first attempt the remaking of the same object all over again is the most important and powerful part.
Apart from MakerBot an educational consulting firm based in Texas named Engaging Solutions is escalating its efforts to bring this technology to the education market by the year 2014-2015. The main objective of this firm is to bring in advanced technologies into the classroom. Since the company is basically an education consulting firm, it hope to achieve their dream by collaborating forces with the largest 3D printing company MakerBot and also because MakerBot has focused on markets such as engineering, architecture, designing and a couple of other consumer space. According to the CEO of Engaging Solutions, Erica Stietenroth, “3D printing is the quintessential disruptive technology in education today, revolutionizing the way students create, collaborate, and comprehend, It unleashes the potential of students who can now go from an on-screen concept to a 3D object they can literally hold in their hands and easily modify, refine, and enhance to achieve their desired results. The education market is perfectly suited for 3D print technology as a way to better engage students.” The professional development specialist of Engaging Solution Mary Beth Kreml explained, “This capability takes student engagement into an entirely new dimension, students go far beyond Hear, See, and Do and now take the amazing leap to Create. When students work together to develop an idea and then watch it take form before their eyes, it makes learning real and exciting, and demonstrates what they are capable of achieving.”
The technology has been over priced and so has been out of reach for normal consumers as well as the education market. With the expiry of patents and companies such as MakerBot producing affordable 3D printers such as Replicator desktop 3D printer which range from $1,375 to about $6,499 have made this technology approachable to all. There are also printers such as Airwolf 3D printers that are fast as well as affordable. Students can often see their object materialize an hour before the commencement of their classes. The reduction of the price of 3D printers has made this technology reach classroom in schools and colleges. Slowly but steadily this technology is getting into the mainstream and becoming a must have in every home and official sector.
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