3D printing. How will it change education? Here are some amazing facts about 3D printing. We have the technology and ability to print food, skin, kidneys, limbs, cars, houses, and guns. (Federico-O’Murchu, 2014) Let’s take food for instance. According to Tom Rawstorne from the Daily Mail in the U.K., there is a company that is selling a printer that can 3D print food such as hamburger, ravioli, and pizza.(2013) All you do is print the food, bake/broil/fry the food, and eat! Two of the reasons for creating such a process is to streamline repetitive activities, and allows consumers to prepare food that is time-consuming and hard to make.
How will 3D printing be introduced in the classroom if it already isn’t? Leapfrog will sell Basic and Educational Kits for classrooms with all the necessary materials and lesson plans directed to elementary or high school students. (2016) The idea for 3D printing in the class is to capture the interest of students, stimulate interaction, create tangible aids, and allow hands-on learning. In effect, have a mini makerspace. This will allow students to become problem solvers and have a growth mindset. Aren’t these some of the reasons for education? I think so. It can be a powerful tool in the classroom.
Since I have an interest in photography, I researched the possibilities for 3D printing in this area. It has many possibilities as well. Accessories are one area that 3D printing excels. You can print card storage cases, lens caps, lens cap holders, lens hood, tilt-shifted lens adapter, and old lens adapters. (Klarmann, 2015) Here is an example of what a tilt-shifted lens does.
This is a real photo of a construction site taken with a digital single-lens reflex camera. Those are life size excavators and people! It looks so miniaturized, like a small scale model. It is great to be able to print your own accessories from existing files, but the real power is in creating your own personalized items. You can save money and not have to order hard to find items. Here is a 3D printed pinhole camera.
Not only can you create and print accessories and cameras, but you can create a 3D image called a lithophane. A lithophane is a 3D print of a photo which uses thickness of print to show various shades of grey when lit from behind. (Snifikino, 2014)
Amazing possibilities. And if there is a 3D printer in the class, I believe there is no end to its use as well. All you need is a little professional development, a 3D printer, and some imagination.
All this is not without some pitfalls. Depending on your 3D creation, you have to be cognizant about legal, ethical, and health issues. For example, 100,000 people downloaded plans for a 3D printed gun that was available online before the Federal government ordered it taken off line. (Federico-O’Murchu 2014) Laws have have not been created to keep up with the explosion of 3D printed items. Even if there is 3D printed food, what are the effects of eating such food 10, 20, 30 years from now? There is simply not enough data to make decisions. Lastly, some people think it is all hype. Just like when computers were invented. People thought it would change education (I thought it would change the face of education), but over 30 years later, it has not made it into mainstream education. We still talk about how to use it in the class, and debate it’s viability in learning.
Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2014). How 3D Printing will radically change the world. CNBC TechEdge. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/09/will-3-d-technology-radically-change-the-world.html
Rawstorne, T. (2013). The future of cooking? PRINT your dinner: Don’t scoff – but now 3D printers can make food. DailyMail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2530195/The-future-cooking-PRINT-dinner-Dont-scoff-3D-printers-make-food.html
Leapfrog. (2016). 3D Printers for Education. Leapfrog. Retrieved from http://www.lpfrg.com/en/professionals/education/
Snifikino. (2014). Lithophanes: 3D Printing your photos! Instructables. Retrieved from http://www.instructables.com/id/Litophanes-How-to-3D-Print-your-photos/
Wikipedia (2014). Lithophane. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithophane
Klarmann, A. (2015). 3D Printed DSLR Accessories for Photographers. ALL3DP. Retrieved from https://all3dp.com/3d-printed-accessoires-for-dslr-photographers/