3D Printers for Schools
A brief overview of how education and 3D printing are paving the way for state-of-the-art learning.
To teachers and administrators, the idea of using 3D printers for schools is a new and exciting challenge. Successful implementation requires an integration of not only the technology, but a coordinated curriculum as well. Fear not! A growing number of schools, universities and secondary educational institutions are leading the charge and setting the pace. In addition, the 3D Printing community (including our team here at 3D Supply Guys) is happy to lend support to institutions in selecting the necessary equipment, resources, and training to get started. We’ll walk you through the benefits that 3D printers for schools have to offer, and work with you to create a solution that not only fits within your budget, but meets the expectations for your learning environment. If you’re ready to start shopping you can click here to access our educational discount sales, or continue reading below for more information.
3D printing refers to various processes used to create physical 3D objects from a digital model. The most popular process widely used in education is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). This entails a moving nozzle that ejects melted plastic (and a growing variety of similar materials) onto a build surface. The process is repeated layer upon layer until a physical 3D object is created. Imagine building a three dimensional cube with a hot glue gun. You hold the glue gun downward and trace out a square onto the build surface. You’ve now created your first layer of a 3D print. As you continue and retrace over the last layer, a new layer is stacked on top of the previous one. The process is repeated until you have a completed 3D cube with length, width, and height. A 3D printer essentially does just that, but on a much finer scale.
Another way of thinking about 3D printing is similar to inkjet printing, the process of creating 2D text or graphics onto a piece of paper with your everyday office printer. The inkjet nozzle moves across the paper, ejecting ink droplets to form your image with length and width. When using an FDM 3D printer, you’re simply adding a third dimension – height. Whereas you originally had a flat 2D picture of a cube printed on paper, you now have the ability to print a physically real and properly scaled 3D cube with length, width, and height.
From elementary to university classrooms, 3D printers for schools are helping students find new ways engage with and learn material. Whether it’s home economics or physics, teachers are discovering that 3D printers provide new and novel learning opportunities that increase confidence and engage students’ imaginations. In terms of critical thinking, 3D printers for schools are changing the paradigm; empowering students to create physical objects that solve problems using reasoning and logic. It sets the tone for experimentation, success, failure, and learning that transcends paper, video, or white boards through observation and problem solving within the physical world rather than on paper. Continue reading below to learn how different grade levels are implementing 3D printing as a learning tool, or click here to access our educational discount sales if you’re ready to review our current education oriented offerings.
Creating an object with a purpose helps set the foundation for elementary and middle school students. It combines creativity, problem solving, and computer skills. 3D printers for elementary and middle schools offer the first step for gearing children toward a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) oriented future. Through a combination of basic 3D modeling and assisted 3D printing, students become equipped with the essential tools to explore a STEAM career. Basic 3D modeling through visualization using programs such as TinkerCAD have already been utilized by elementary and middle school students, providing a “what you see is what you get” approach to digital modeling.
Teachers help set the tempo, allowing students the freedom to explore ways to approach the creation of an object. It applies geometry, reasoning, and an understanding of physical space and proportion. It also helps proliferate a combination of disciplines while helping young students become enthusiastic about choosing a path. From art to IT, 3D printing for schools helps provide baseline inspiration for students across multiple disciplines. It sets the stage for individualized attention to each student, letting them choose their learning niche through open ended design and collaboration with teachers and fellow students. With 3D printing for schools, a revolution in “creating something from nothing” begins in the student’s mind and ends with a physical object.
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As a student progresses through high school and college, 3D printing continues to advance STEAM oriented education and learning. As students are now more comfortable with computer aided design (CAD) and digital modelling, broader paths soon take shape. Not only does the actual 3D printed object yield a viable learning solution, but the actual process of 3D printing that object is the catalyst for thinking about chemistry, physics, mechanics, electronics, engineering, and more. A hands-on approach takes place, allowing students to work in project based learning and spur inventive ideas.
In high school, foundational courses embrace 3D printing as a natural fit to supplement their curriculum. In many cases, the creation of simple objects using 3D printing helps students comprehend concepts that may have been challenging when taught through traditional means. Thanks to lower costs of entry, 3D printers for schools have begun to proliferate and provide a valuable budget-conscious resource that incentivizes learning.
In the university environment, the resources and tools offered by 3D printing become extraordinarily useful for students to not only begin inventing their own objects or products, but to help propel research, grants, and budgets. A graduate can now save time or money by 3D printing their own parts for an experimental project. A PHD candidate can create and demonstrate their vision with 3D printed physical models or systems in addition to explaining the concept on paper. From architectural design to prototyping aircraft components, learning the product development process becomes part of the curriculum way before a graduate steps out into the real world.
Teachers and administrators are not the only ones to catch onto the 3D printing for schools effort. 3D printing manufacturers are spearheading initiatives to help get 3D printers into every classroom across the United States. With the recent establishment of the MAKE.DIGITAL Education Initiative, leading manufacturer 3D Systems is helping schools acquire the resources and tools to enhance the learning experience. The effort features discounted classroom starter kits, downloadable curriculums, and various training resources for teachers. Other manufacturers such as Leapfrog have also entered the race, providing discount programs, case studies, lesson plans, and live training sessions for teachers in English, French, Dutch, or German.
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Across the board, 3D printers are quickly integrating into various subjects in different ways. Depending on your discipline, a 3D printer can find use in any topic that you’re willing to teach or help get funding for:Click a Subject to Learn More!
- 3D Printers for Architecture Education
- 3D Printers for Art Education
- 3D Printers for Biology Education
- 3D Printers for Chemistry Education
- 3D Printers for Geology Education
- 3D Printers for History Education
- 3D Printers for Mathematics Education
- 3D Printers for Science & Engineering Education
Our educational discount program provides a budget-friendly approach, helping to streamline the purchase process and offer equipment at a fraction of the price when compared to direct consumer sales.
Our team starts with understanding your needs, classroom strategy, and subject matter. Our experience in 3D printing allows us to recommend the best unit available for your requirements. We take the time to ask questions, explore your learning approach, and recommend the materials required to make your teaching ideas a reality. We consult with you on the mechanics, usability, and function of each 3D printer to help you choose a unit that is easy to use, affordable, and efficient for your daily operations. Our guidance will help you re-imagine the learning experience for students while preparing them for an innovative and technologically advanced future. To learn more about our 3D printers and accessories for schools, as well as our educational discount programs, please contact us at Sales@3DSupplyGuys.com.
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