The Benefits of 3D Printing in Education

Despite 3D printing first appearing over 25 years ago, interest in this innovative technology has exploded over the past decade. Not long ago, few thought that it would become a legitimate alternative to traditional production and printing processes.

Just as any other new technology, 3D printing has yet to establish a footing in industrial or consumer markets. However, there is one area in particular that is already embracing the benefits that 3D printing can bring; education. Still, 3D printing’s influence in this sector is only in its infancy.

The numerous benefits 3D printing can bring:

• New learning possibilities – In addition to literally seeing their designs come to life, students can interact with the finished product and experience it ways not previously possible.

• Access to learning materials – If a school or teacher doesn’t have access to learning materials, they can simply make them then and there.

• Creates excitement and engagement – Rather than passively reading from a textbook or listening to the teacher, students will have a more active interest in 3D printing, as it is very much a hands-on activity.

• Encourages creativity and innovation – With access to design software and a 3D printer, the possibilities of what a student can create are endless, which encourages greater innovation.

• Promotes critical thinking and problem solving-skills – In areas of education where students must exercise critical thinking and problem-solving skills, a 3D printer can assist immeasurably.

• Better knowledge retention rates – People learn new information and knowledge more effectively if they do rather than just seeing or listening.

Although some may feel as though 3D printing is simply a way for students to experiment and express their creativity, this technology can be much more practical than that. In fact, learning materials produced for subjects like math and science could inspire the next generation of engineers, architects, designers, or any other creative yet empirical occupation.

It can also help students that struggle with learning theories and topics from a textbook but are much more capable when given tangible objects to work with. Therefore, students that were previously disillusioned with education could not only be reinvigorated by the prospect of learning but also unlock their hidden potential.