The new generation of kids has advanced educational needs. In a world where innovation takes the front seat, the students should learn to innovate from a young age, giving way to practical education. Today’s kids are smarter and sharper in technology use. They make the most of available resources to gain an idea about how things work in the real world. They start using computers and other advanced digital technologies to innovate and develop new-age products and learn practical applications of coding and graphics from a tender age. 3D printing has a major role to play in the educational sector.

Although additive manufacturing has been here for a long, it has been making headlines only in recent times. It is set to revolutionize the manufacturing sector and encourage sustainable development. We have also learned how 3D printing can help create newer and better products by recycling hazardous substances, like plastic. It is not long before the entire manufacturing sector will realize the benefits of this futuristic technology and make striking breakthroughs. Many other industries will benefit from this disruption. The educational sector is one of them. If the technology is incorporated into the modern learning environment, the children will enjoy practical modes of learning that will help them get realistic ideas about various industries. Besides math and science, 3D printing can also help students develop social and communication skills by increasing collaboration and innovation.

Affordable and portable 3D printers are available in the market these days. The institutions can make the best use of these advanced devices to create more engagement in classrooms and enhance collaboration through innovative projects. The students can make miniature 3D models of real-life objects to study them better and use the knowledge in the real world.

What kind of educational needs do the new generation students have?

Education is no more limited to books only. Students these days require a plethora of other materials that help bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical experience. For example, by creating miniature models of the human anatomy, the students can gain better insight into the working of the entire system. Then again, geographical models will help them study an area better than just 2D topographical maps. Such practical needs of the children are growing, as the new generation is more tech-savvy than we ever were. They are already using the internet to find out more about their respective subjects, in addition to the information that the textbooks offer. They are also keen to experiment, learn and take up innovative projects that help them understand the functioning of real-world systems.

The new generation of kids is always eager to learn through dynamic methods. They hate to be confined to books and classroom notes and possess an endless curiosity. Teachers know it better. They tend to get confused and bewildered sometimes while resolving their endless queries. To teach new methods to such a curious mind without the help of replica systems is almost impossible. As a result, 3D printing can help take new-age education a level up and help the students satisfy their endless thirst for knowledge.

How 3D printing can help students

You should note something here. 3D printing in education is not limited to science and technology only. It can be used to engage students from different fields and bridge the gap between science and arts subjects. One may use the technology to print cost-effective sports equipment, exhibition materials, musical instruments, sculptures, and miniature buildings, all of which can help increase engagement. Under proper guidance, the students can also learn to use 3D printers, thus taking their practical knowledge of worldly systems a notch up. For example, in the future, a student of music will be able to 3D print his/her favorite musical instrument instead of fighting over limited resources in the schools. A student who requires a separate set of sports equipment to practice can make his/her own. History students can recreate historical artifacts to study those in detail. Students of chemistry can create real-time structures of molecules and atoms. The biology students may have the most use of 3D printers, as they can create models of humans, animals, independent organs, and organ systems quite effectively.

All these activities will not only keep the students updated but also bring about a holistic development in their creative skills. When they graduate and start looking for work, all this knowledge and achievements will help them get lucrative career options in their chosen industries.

The challenges of introducing 3D printing in education

Although the idea of bringing 3D printers onboard educational institutes may sound simple, it has several challenges. The first and most significant challenge is the lack of knowledge among teachers to help the students use the printers to their advantage. The technology is still in its nascent stages, and even big industries are lacking in qualified and skilled experts to take it forward. So there is a lack of qualified trainers who can teach the students to use advanced 3D printers. However, it is not rocket science, and the new generation of students are smart enough to self-learn. But they are likely to face roadblocks, where they need help.

The only way to overcome this challenge is by creating awareness of the benefits of 3D printing for children’s education so that teachers and even parents try to upgrade their knowledge. And it does not take long; a few months give or take. The teachers who have studied the printers and learned to use them say that it hardly takes a few months to learn the intricacies of the technology and its proper application. So, all one needs is some encouragement and realization of the massive benefits of 3D printing in education to join the bandwagon.

The second challenge is the costs of 3D printers, but that too has become a less challenging issue these days. You can get these advanced printers at quite affordable rates for educational purposes. The Flashforge Finder is available at $350 approximately and is meant for elementary-high school educational purposes. The Robo C2, another high school 3D printer is available for $800 or so. If you need more advanced features, you can go for the Ultimaker Original+, which costs around $1000. If you are looking for more cost-effective options, the Monoprice Select Mini V2 is available at $200 only. These printers are way affordable than the industrial 3D printers used in prototyping and manufacturing. However, the prices of industrial printers are also lowering with time, so that more people can make the best use of the technology.

What are the benefits of introducing 3D printers in schools?

Many institutes believe that investing in 3D printers is not a necessity at the moment. But they are wrong. When new technology starts making great progress, the students should learn to adapt. Otherwise, they may face problems later in their professional lives. If 3D printing is the manufacturing technology of tomorrow, the students should learn all about it when it is still time. One may argue that additive manufacturing will be confined to industrial uses, but who knows that for sure? It may enter other sectors too as it has already found its way into the healthcare industry.

But securing the future of the students is not the sole aim of 3D printing. It has a direct impact on learning processes. The technology improves excitement among students, as they acquire hands-on experience in designing and prototyping at a young age. They can create objects right from scratch in classrooms. The teachers will also find it easier to complete the curriculum in time with a team of excited students and not yawning ones.

The process will also improve the children’s problem-solving skills. Most of the educational 3D printers are plug-and-play, so there is no hassle of starting without any assistance. Moreover, the students can learn should successive failures without losing motivation. Enhancing the children’s creative skills will open their minds to new challenges and possibilities. Lastly, the technology will help enhance the bond between students and teachers, as they can collaborate in projects, solve issues and design innovative things together.

What role does 3D printing play in higher studies?

Additive manufacturing has a more elusive role to play in higher studies that concern research. Based on the field of research, affordable 3D printers can help give the students an edge in competition. The scope is greater here, as 3D printing can escalate the development process, enhance visual and practical learning and also save a lot of time. With advanced printers, the students can complete their research and earn certificates way faster. Some of the educational fields that may benefit from 3D printing are applied science, mechanics, molecular science, nuclear science, medical, aerospace, and robotics. The students in these fields work towards creating a better world. The 3D printers can help them achieve this aim faster than they could ever imagine.

How can Additive Accelerator help?

At Additive Accelerator, we have a vast knowledge of 3D printing and its applications to help put clients identify a suitable and scalable solution for their business needs. If you are in the field of education, we can give you a blueprint of scalable AM solutions, and their long-term benefits, to help you make the right decision. We can also give you an idea about the possible challenges and how to overcome those without additional expenses.

In other words, we aim to improve your chances of faring better at 3D printing, even if it is your first time. Not all 3D printing technologies and devices are meant for your business. You can opt for our help to identify your specific needs and goals and find a profitable solution to fulfill those.