With desktop 3D printing machines, rapid prototyping and manufacturing technology is now available to almost everyone.
The tech-savvy millennials are especially inclined towards it and this is a trend acknowledged by more and more educators and creative thinkers from all over the world. Schools for millennials and for each of the next generations must use different tools to catch their attention and inspire their creativity.
As a kid, I loved tinkering with computers. It’s cool to see high-tech tools like 3-D printers in classrooms: https://t.co/wtkc6JN47c
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) luty 10, 2016
3D printing is proving to be a useful educational tool for catching the interest of young people. As a result, 3D printers are becoming present and useful at all stages of education from pre-schools and primary schools, through high schools as high as the college education.
Building schools for millennials
3D printers effectively fill the gap between humanities and highly theoretical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes. They often replace outdated wood shops and crafts courses as they add an element of practice into the educational mix. With CAD design software becoming more intuitive, students are able to construct objects based on their own ideas with parts they can manufacture themselves from various materials like ABS plastic, wood or Plexiglass.
Karen Cator from Digital Promise organization said in a New York Times article:
Taking things apart and putting them together has an important role to play in learning. […] You’re exploring creativity, you’re exploring design thinking, you’re developing a sense of persistence. These are incredibly important mind-sets for today’s world.
Young people able to manufacture their ideas rediscover a sense of purpose in their education. This is another strong argument in favor of using 3D printers in schools. Especially in the case of millennials who often feel disconnected at schools with curriculums still stuck in the 20th century.
Young people love new technologies and gadgets, so it’s natural that a 3D printer catches their attention but there’s also another, more important reason. The technology requires both students and teachers to learn how to handle it and master the 3D printing process. This builds a sense of community and develops the ability to work and cooperate with a group. It also teaches young people to use their hands in other ways than using a computer or smartphone. Instead, they actually solve design problems and make real-life objects – only with more modern tools than hammer and nails from an old wood shop.
To put it simply: schools for millennials should employ curriculums and educational tools that resonate with young people. 3D printers are one of them.
Heather Wolpert-Gawron described it perfectly at the Edutopia foundation blog:
I cannot describe the satisfaction both the students and I felt when seeing an object from their brain appear on the heated bed of the machine before them. Thirty-six students were all crowded around the printer during that first lunchtime, and every time since, watching in awe as each layer built upon itself. The machine brought to life the item that, prior to that moment, had only lived within the imagination of a middle school student. […] There is no doubt that this tool has inspired them. And maybe for this generation of students, the technology isn’t just a tool, but a key component to making their learning meaningful.
Young people who come in contact with 3D printing earlier in their education develop new skills that shouldn’t be neglected or ignored in their later education too. This is why 3D printing labs are becoming a standard issue facilities at many universities. This trend will only continue to grow in coming years.
Higher education applications
3D printing is being used in art classes, chemistry departments, and engineering schools. Some of them, like Lancaster University, University of Applied Sciences in Fulda and Wroclaw University of Technology equip their labs with various machines like ZMorph multitool 3D printers for example.
Thanks to their interchangeable toolheads, ZMorph’s can serve as 3D printers, CNC milling machines, laser cutters, and engravers. This versatility accelerates the prototyping and manufacturing speed. It also enables the use of various materials like ABS, PLA, PVA, nylon, wood, plywood, plexiglass, PVC, PCB boards, carbon fiber, machining wax, woodfill, laywood, laybrick and more.
Higher education facilities owning 3D printers are more attractive for new students but also in the eyes of big investors and companies interested in training their future employees. Since 3D printing is currently the most popular rapid prototyping technique out there, graduates with experience in it are very desirable on the job market. 3D printing professionals are wanted especially in fields like design, product development, and engineering.
Teachers, professional educators, and students should consider equipping their workshops and labs with the most versatile multitool 3D printers just like the schools listed below.
Manufacturers of 3D printers do their best to make their technology accessible and popularize it for educational uses. This is why ZMorph introduced a special educational discount for all schools, universities, research facilities, teachers and students from all over the world. It can even be combined with other discounts for further savings.
Future of education
Modern times require modern educational tools to inspire the tech-savvy millennials. Their creativity will soar with 3D printing allowing them to embody their ideas. Many teachers, educators, and creative thinkers consider this technology to be the future of education while big companies invest in schools, universities and research facilities all around the world to train their future employees in 3D printing.
Owning a 3D printer or 3D printing laboratory is quickly becoming a modern requirement not only for universities and engineering schools but also at earlier stages of education.
Schools investing in this technology are actually investing in the future success of their students.
We’d love to hear your stories about perfect schools for millennials and other educational applications of 3D printing. Comment below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.