From rockets to tortoise shells to complete clothing lines, stories of students creating amazing things using 3D printing technology have been all over the news in recent months.
Educators across the globe are embracing 3D printing as a new way to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) activities and teach 21st century “maker skills.” These skills, like programming, tabletop filmmaking, stop motion animation and robotics, combine with 3D printing to help prepare students for the jobs of the future.
“I see so much potential for students to use 3D printing in new and unique ways to create fun and educational classroom experiences and gain skills that will last a lifetime,” said Philip VanHooks, principal at Cooke Elementary in Detroit, Michigan.
And the good news is the industry growth is just getting started. The global 3D printing materials market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.2 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to research from Lucintel. Although many organizations have focused attention on the medical industry as the best opportunity for growth, the applications are endless, especially in education.
3D printing was traditionally a mystery to the consumer market, but the growing affordability of 3D printers, such as the da Vinci line offered by XYZprinting has helped make the technology more accessible to the average consumer, therefore creating more opportunities for the classroom. The da Vinci line is unique because it’s one of the only models that comes fully assembled and ready for use, making it even easier to use this innovative technology for education.
Recently, XYZprinting partnered with D&H Distributing to expand the distribution of 3D printers in the education market. As part of the agreement, XYZprinting products will be incorporated into D&H’s K-12 education offering and educational sessions through programs such as the Solutions Lab Training Center.
With the increased focus on STEAM education XYZprinting expects even more students will be able to take advantage of 3D printing and explore real-world prototyping. For example, instead of design students creating 3D objects on a computer and pressing print only to end up with a 2D form, they can produce a tangible, shareable product, which can create a deep sense of accomplishment amongst students.
Training in the arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation, and students who study arts benefit from increased test scores, according to research from the National Center for Education Statistics. By incorporating 3D printing technology, students gain hands-on learning experiences and a chance to engage in the arts in unique ways such as printing garments, sculptures and even instruments.
In the future, the 3D Printing industry will need even more dreamers, believers, and doers from a variety of backgrounds who aren’t afraid to continuously innovate and envision a world that is strikingly different than the one around us. The best place to find those dreamers is in the classroom, and XYZprinting hopes to play a role in further making 3D printing technology accessible to tomorrow’s leaders.