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Pearson is adding LittleBits kits to its STEM curriculum
Juni Learning is bringing individualized programming tutorials to kids online
An MIT team has created color-changing 3D prints
Adidas joins Carbons board as its 3D printed shoes finally drop
XYZprinting adds voice control to its color 3D printers
Dropbox partners with Autodesk to help users collaborate on large design files
Facing An Array Of Challenges, Autodesk Shifts To Subscription Pricing
GrabCADs Workbench Aims To Ride The Hardware Renaissance
The Influence Of Education On The 3D Printing Industry
You probably dont own a3Dprinter yet. Like computers in the early 1980s, its an intriguing new technology that hasnt quite found its place in the home.
However, schools and universities are proving to be a petri dish of innovation, where there is an existing space for experimentation and practical application, as well as palpable enthusiasm for the technology among both teachers and students.
Through the use of new software and Computer Aided Design (CAD), university and K-12 students alike can see their work come to life as its squirted magically into shape at the end of a heat-resistant nozzle. Students can build dioramas that genuinely excite: geometry has suddenly become physical and immediate, and math and science are no longer a hard slog through a dry textbook. Educators are harnessing their students creativity, and the next generation of designers, artists and scientists are being propelled in the right direction.
But3Dprintingis not simply a catalyst that improves the lives of fortunate children and young adults in theeducationsystem. The fact is, theres a very effective feedback loop in operation right now, and the primary driver behind innovation and development in the3Dprintingindustryis coming fromeducation. Im going to talk about three ways in which3Dprintingandeducationare changing the world together.
In response to increased educational demand, CAD software has evolved dramatically in the last few years and its not just engineers who are using it. Where before3Dprintingwas almost exclusively part of the manufacturingindustry, demand for the technology in the classroom has pushed companies into developing technology to suit educational needs. As a result, there has been an explosion in the number of3Ddesign programs, especially for children, and this is allowing K-12 educators to make the most of the technology.
Educational institutes are already using3Dprintingat the middle-school level, allowing students to move away from the old-fashioned poster and cardboard projects toward more inspiring and practical3Dmodeling experimentation.
The Northern New York Robotics Academys Mars Colony project, for example, sees children using CAD software and a3Dprinter to design and build Mars rovers, shape settler living quarters and build water supply resources. Not only is it fun, but it also is an educational opportunity to teach kids to use software and hardware.
Educators are harnessing their students creativity, and the next generation of designers, artists and scientists are being propelled in the right direction.
James Carroll, founder of the academy said, The application of this technology is only limited by the ambition of the teacher and creativity of the students and theres no cap on either of those things here.
Carroll went on to say that3Dprintingtechnology is revolutionizingeducationat the academy, giving students extraordinary levels of motivation and the opportunity to exercise their imaginations, as well as practice skills that will serve them in the future, in an exciting new way.
Competitions such as theEdu-Tech3DChallengeare helping children discover their design talents, as well as giving them the chance to showcase their work and potentially win a MakerBot Replicator 23Dprintingunit for their school.
Moreover, apps likeZotebook.ioallow children (or adults) to free draw their designs in 2D and see them converted into exact models, ready for3Dor laserprinting. Although apps like this are simple, they make abstract theories practical, models testable and teach students how the3Dprintingprocess works.
For younger children,Dr. Fluffs Robot Factoryis a free and easy-to-use Android app that helps them create3Dmodels of robots. With apps like this, young children are learning to accurately manipulate images on screens, then see tangible results. Furthermore, teachers without access to3Dprinters can send off for their students printed models in the mail, which, although perhaps not as fun to watch, at least adds an element of suspense to the class.
Then theresFormZ, software that uses tutorials and practical application to teach students how to design and model in3D. FormZ comes with specific student licenses that allow high school and university students free access for 12 months, and gives them invaluable experience with professional software.
Of course, there are many more programs and apps around, and far too many to mention here, but they do all have one thing in common: Although building a cardboard volcano in a shoe box is fun and educational, these apps and desktop programs are helping students develop valuable skills early in their educational lives. These are skills that can be applied in the real world and help them in their careers in the long run.
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has helped break down classroom walls with unprecedented access to information and communication. Now,3Dprintingis adding a tangible element to the mix.
Teaming up students in K-12 and at the university level with international groups presents an interesting opportunity; its like the modern-day pen pal, but much more powerful. Were seeing the beginnings of real-time collaboration among schools and colleges around the world, and with3Dprinting project work will never be the same again. Files created forprintingcan easily be shared, which means that curriculums and even new subjects can be developed. Imagine a college classroom where the end project is not a hypothetical product but a real3Dprintable solar panel design that can be printed for less than $30.
Take the recent success of thee-NABLEproject as an example of the impact3Dprintingcan have on global design and production. The project began when a South African carpenter got in touch with an American prop maker in order to make amechanical prosthetic hand for a young boy. After successfully creating the life-changing design, the pair then gave plans away for free in order to benefit people all over the world.
The project has since grown into a global network of people setting out to help others whom they may never have met. For example, high school students from theBen Barber Career and Technology Academyin Texas became involved in the project, collaborating to create a3D-printed hand forJayme Sims, a man who lost four fingers in a wood chipper accident. The prosthetic was based on the original e-NABLE design and only cost $50 to produce.
We can now build educational courses where students in London, the U.S. or anywhere in the world can together collaborate on projects that have the potential to change the lives of individuals and groups on the other side of the planet.
With CAD software and3Dprinters now being designed to meet educational needs, the marketplace is shifting shape. Students are now learning how to use free, simple programs likeTinkerCADand are being taught to think in3Din much the same way that many of us were taught how to use Microsoft Word from an early age.
This fundamental shift in focus and development from theindustryis creating a whole new class of adoption. Instead of just engineers making prototypes, we are now seeing artists using3Dprintingto formbeautiful and interesting objects and designsthat would be nearly impossible to achieve through any other medium.
Furthermore, its not just engineering schools picking up the tech; its reaching the general populace, too. Duke University is currently rolling out campus-wide access to3Dprintingfor its entire student body to offer the benefits of the technology to each and every one of its students.
In the first four weeks of being open our students have accumulated 1478 hours of3Dprintingacross 601 print jobs. We did this using only seven printers and a small student support staff, said Chip Bobbert, Digital Media Engineer at Duke University. We hope not only to inspire our student body, but also to provoke new ways of thinking about problems and solutions. Technology like this has the power to change the way we see the world, and now is the time to embrace it.
With open-source designs,educationand competition-driven innovation, were going to see anexponential rise in both application and development of3Dtech. The investment in the future of the technology that were currently seeing will reap untold rewards, and that come from this upcoming generation.
New innovation in3Dprintingis not just going to come from the engineering elite; its also going to spring forth from diverse groups due to the widespread access that theeducationsystem is providing. Students are on the front lines of tech adoption, and the way students interact with3Dprintinghas changed the trajectory of theindustry. As they learn how to design and print materials, they also are learning that technology itself opens the door to endless possibilities. Millennials and Generation Z are growing up with an entirely different mindset.
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