Most students love to explore new things. They love to discover and learn new knowledge. However, there are also those who are too afraid to try. But now, education has gone far beyond limits. With the discovery of additive manufacturing more than 25 years ago, 3D printing is dramatically removing the fear from the students to venture into the world of unknown subjects.
Why is 3D printing different from other technologies when it comes to educating children?
In classroom, students are usually not allowed to hold fragile matter such as artifacts and fossils. Now as a rapid prototyping and production tool, 3D printing enables the users to touch, handle and study a 3D subject model. Sight and touch are two of the most powerful senses. Given the ability to hold and see the fossils can aid them the understanding and appreciation for the past. They can even take it home for further observation. Through this experience, the students and even the teachers are having mindset shift where there is room for unavoidable mistakes and experimentation.
Not only that. There are communities online for students who work together in this way. Sometimes, someone provides a 3D model to solve a problem. They would then upload it where interested students or even educators can view it and offer their suggestions for improvement or answers for given questions. Also, students can make use of this type of learning to find solutions that are similar to their problems, download and modify them for the particular issue they are aiming to address. Basically just like an open source.
A recent study from NMC Horizon Project concluded that 3D printing will greatly impact the education system worldwide in the next five years. With the ever growing span of technology, 3D printing together with the internet of things can be a very powerful tool of the future.