A PSA to Parents & Teachers: Three Ways To Utilize 3D Printers with Kids for Educational Purposes
As 3D printing continues to go mainstream, printers will become commonplace in schools and homes as they encourage hands-on learning. Just as the iPad made its way into classrooms across the nation, future generations will grow up with 3D printing technology around them. And while thatâ€™s exciting for students, what exactly does it mean for parents and teachers? Incorporating 3D printing in education and at home adds value in teaching kids a broad range of skills â€“ from physics to engineering and design â€“ and the opportunities are truly endless.
As education is commonly a two-dimensional space, 3D printing encourages creative thinking and introduces children to a three-dimensional means of thinking and learning. Kids today are being raised in a virtual world and have a natural affinity with the latest technology â€“ with 3D printers, teachers and parents can teach their children design through software, bringing these abundant technological ideas and concepts into reality. With that, here are three ways parents and teachers alike can utilize 3D printers with their children/students both at home and in the classroom:
- Use 3D printers to help with every subject: The beauty of 3D printing is that it has the ability to help students with every subject matter. History and archaeology become more tangible with the ability for students to print artifacts or other fossils which they are usually not allowed to handle or can only view in textbooks. Modeling with mathematics (e.g. printing geometric objects) is also a large appeal to 3D printing in the classroom and at home. Further, since 3D printing requires a significant need for measurement, scaling and conversion of measurement, the technology contributes to heightened mathematical skills â€“ great for homework help!
- Use 3D printers to encourage collaboration: As 3D printing is still a new technology for many students, parents and teachers can take advantage of the technology to increase kidsâ€™ desire to work as a team. Using 3D printers, parents and teachers can motivate kids to work with other classmates to not only improve their overall 3D printing experience, but also help solve problems they may come across when using the printer. A good example would be to encourage your children/students to have a competition with their friends to see who can design and print the craziest invention (from unique toys and tech accessories to functional furniture).
- Use 3D printers to inspire innovation and inventions: With 3D printers, encourage your students and kids to bring their ideas to life. For children interested in design, architecture and engineering, help them make prototypes of their ideas and creations. Working with kids to print parts to repair broken items around the house or classroom (and save a trip to Home Depot!) is a great way to save time and money, while teaching kids how to use the technology.
While these are just three basic ways parents and teachers can use 3D printing to help inspire creative learning with their students and kids, the message we want to send is that the sky is truly the limit with a 3D printer â€“ shaping both the future of education as well as future careers. As the 3D printing space continues to go mainstream, we encourage parents and teachers to get onboard with implementing the technology in the classroom and for at-home education purposes.