The popularity of 3D printing technology has augmented considerably over the past two decades. It has brought innovative solutions for multiple industries like engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, prototyping, entertainment, and many more. The progress in the 3D printing sector has turned it into a more accessible and valuable tool in the education sector as well. 3D printing and STEM subjects are an area that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Schools and universities are now embracing 3D printing technology to hone the creativity and excogitation of the students. It prepares them to become inventors of tomorrow, as this is a learning tech that promotes innovation.
STEM or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics proficiency has been a focus of education systems in various countries. It is especially stressed upon in places where high demand for a workforce with competencies in the fields of STEM. Likewise, this has also led to the creation of a curriculum that focuses on all four of these subjects, instead of just mathematics and science. Many educationists now believe that engineering and science can help students navigate and find solutions for real-life problems. Therefore, imparting an education that produces scientifically literate students has become a priority. Devices such as the Dremel 3d40-EDU Idea Builder 2.0 3D Printer For Education are ideal for STEM classrooms.
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3D Printing and STEM
With all of the advancements in technology, classrooms also have to modernize and adapt. It means that the classes need resources, equipment, and audiovisual tools such as smart boards, projectors, tablets, laptops, etc. The presence of technology in the classrooms should be increased so that it could help the student to learn better. 3D printing and STEM may sound basic, but the applications make it a very useful and functional tool. 3D printers have received ample interest in classrooms from both students and teachers. As per a Department for Education report, from the UK,
“3D printers have significant potential as a teaching resource and can have a positive impact on pupil engagement and learning.”
How 3D Printing and STEM Teaching Can Benefit Students?
Many pedagogues argue that 3D printers can be utilized in classes as a more effective and real-life way of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math subjects. Additionally, they will help the students develop inventiveness and work together in teams. Engaging the learners in 3D printing projects will facilitate their STEM-rich learning. This will resultantly boost innovation, design thinking, and ingenuity. It provides them with an environment where they can find solutions for real-world issues that spread across multiple disciplines. Learners can work on open-ended models of their choosing. They do their research, design the models, prototype and 3D print the objects, and then evaluate the results. Such pursuits introduce the learners to a creative design method that boosts their design thinking abilities.
Listed below are some of the ways 3D printing and STEM teaching can be work in unison. As a result, they will create a more hands-on and realistic model of education for children. This will help them understand both basic and complex concepts in a much better way.
3D printing and STEM: Learning About How Machines Work
By understanding how different types of machines and their parts work can certainly lay an excellent foundation for future engineers. Students can learn about simple devices and their components from a textbook or a lesson. However, a 3D printer can bring those models to life. With the help of the CAD programs, the students can assemble different parts to create their own simple machines. Likewise, it provides them a real understanding of how various components of a device come together and work in unison to execute specific functions.
Finding Innovative Solutions
When the students are allowed to use their brilliant young minds, they can come up with some very innovative solutions. The teachers can play a part in facilitating this process by presenting the students with different problems that need answers. For instance, they can be asked to come up with a new model for a face mask, or create a prototype of a device. This will pave a path for them to look for ingenious ways of tackling the issue and find an answer. Similarly, rapid prototyping can be used to create new prototypes a number of times. It enables the students to present and share their ideas with their fellows accurately.
Creating New Designs
3D printing and STEM teaching also create an environment where pupils can build new designs or models of different things. As the students let their imaginations run wild, they can come up with an array of distinctive ideas, from vehicles to houses to even prosthetic body parts. 3D printers provide them a means to bring those concepts to a physical form. They can work together in groups, which will foster their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.
Making the Learning Process Interesting
STEM teachers can make things fascinating for the students and pique their interests with the help of 3D printers. Introducing a new domain of technology can assist the learners in grasping a myriad of concepts and ideas in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students no longer have to rely on simple diagrams and images, as they can easily create three-dimensional models for better understanding. They can design how different laws in physics work, or how different machinery operates, and much more. These creative tools allow pupils to expand their imaginations.
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Hands-on Learning Experience
With the introduction of 3D printers, the learning process becomes more active, and the students get hands-on experience. They can create their own models in CAD and then watch them come to life on the print bed. 3D printed models of different concepts can help the students immensely, along with taking notes and reading the textbooks in school. The tactile learners greatly benefit from such activities. They can work in teams to create functional models. It also allows them to gain analytical skills as they construe the data to determine the size, movement, and relationships between different objects. Thus, 3D printing facilitates real-world learning and understanding.