It’s been really interesting reading about the applications of 3D printing. So many possibilities and applications in many areas, but there seems to be a hesitant attitude in education to fully incorporate this new technology. I have to admit that some of the applications of 3D printing, such as food and replacement parts for humans, is kind of scary. The important aspect of this technology is the innovations that are created. Who thought about making 3D food or replacement parts? Someone with the determination to create such things.
I think education should pursue this 3D printing technology with this perspective as its forefront argument for incorporating it into the classroom. Yeah it’s great to make 3D models of items to solidify understanding of concepts, but I feel the real power of 3D printing comes from prototyping. People with creative minds that want to invent a great item has the full potential of realizing their innovation with a 3D printer. Here is a YouTube video of a person that invented a iPhone Centriphone. It’s a flight-enabled phone holder that will shoot 360 degree video of the person holding it. You spin it around over your head, like an old fashion sling weapon, and it shoots a unique perspective of the activity of the person holding it. The inventor had to continually modify his design to get the centriphone to work correctly. This is the essence of 3D printing!
I personally think that a 3D printer should be in every class. It is another device that can be very life-changing, if used properly. There is a hype associated with this at the moment, but if you look at the possibilities of using a 3D printer, you can’t dismiss the creativity, learning, problem solving, and innovations that accompany it. I see kids in all levels of school, K-12, being able to use this technology. Imagine the inventions of 1st graders coming to life. Of course, for all this to occur, we need professional development. You need to be proactive in pursuing this technology and the determination to learn all you can to troubleshoot, use, and maintain a 3D printer, and there will be many times it won’t work. That is the unfortunate byproduct of using technology. Murphy’s Law Rules! But we can overcome this because we understand the great possibilities of using this new technology in the class.