3D printing all set to revolutionise the teaching-learning process

With the importance of technology growing in the education sector, 3D printing is fuelling limit-less creativity among students.

To enrich the teaching process across STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Design subjects, there are innovative ways of using 3D printers to help make the teaching-learning process much more engaging and interactive. Some education institutions are still in the early stage of adopting this innovative technology, but 3D printing has the ability to revolutionise education in a holistic manner.

Also known as Additive Manufacturing, the technology provides teachers with three dimensional visual aids to use in the classroom while illustrating methods and also makes it easy for them to seize the interest of the students compared to just showing the pictorial representations of objects.

3D printers can be used at home, school, office and manufacturing labs. The technology helps in evaluating ideas that can be printed quickly by a student using easy to use open-source CAD soft-ware via a browser or download 3D print files available on the internet in open source communi-ties.

3D printing technology is turning out to be an effective way to enrich the learning experience in classrooms, where students are undertaking real world learning experiences to be better pre-pared for tomorrow’s challenges. It nurtures creativity, satisfies intellectual curiousity and inspires students to invent, design and engineer. It encourages new ideas, helps them bring things to life, and create real objects that model the innovations with high accuracy, fine detail and moving parts. Tomorrow’s engineers, designers and problem solvers deserve every tool available to build a brilliant future.

A recent pilot project conducted in the UK demonstrated how new and emerging technologies such as the 3Doodler (3D Pen) can enhance, shape and influence an educational setting in a varie-ty of ways; as well as encourage students to take on new challenges. The programme specifically highlighted how the 3Doodler 3D Pen can be used to:

• Incentivise performance amongst students;
• Diversify teaching methods within the classroom;
• Stimulate kinaesthetic and visual learners;
• Enhance the performance of divergent thinkers;
• Improve concentration amongst students, including those with ADHD; and
• Level the playing field between male and female students, especially in the sciences.

At The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, art therapy has been a part of the treat-ment regimen for psychiatric patients for some time, and has recently been expanded to include medical patients. This new art therapy programme is funded entirely by donors.
Jennifer Bassin is an art therapist at SickKids. Her background includes a Master’s degree in counselling and a background in psychology. She does not consider herself an artist; rather, she considers art and the making of art as a tool that allows children to address difficult challenges in a controlled way.

Indian companies such as 3D Boulevard based in Delhi provide 3D Printing School kits and it is a first of its kind in India. 3D Printing is a great way for schools to really engage their students in the learning process and offer advanced possibilities for a variety of disciplines. Every school should integrate 3D printing to prepare the next generation for their future careers.

3D Printing is transforming school education in many different areas. The most obvious applica-tions are in the prototyping capabilities useful for Engineering, Medical, Fashion, Architecture and Art students. More disciplines where 3D Printing adds value are:

● Historical artefacts can be printed to be investigated without worrying about damaging the orig-inal piece or a landmark which is located remotely.
● An extra dimension can be added to the artwork of Graphic Designers.
● 3D prints of skulls and all other bones can be used by Biology students.
● Chemistry students can 3D print molecular structures to support their learning process.
● Engineering and Computer Science students can design prototype to test their creation.

3D printing has been evolving very rapidly in the last couple of years. The printers are getting more advanced, cheaper and make use of several materials such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), PLA (Poly Lactic Acid), LayWood - Wood Composite Filament, Metal Composite, Conduc-tive Filament, Carbon Fibre Composite, Nylon, HIPS - High Impact Polystyrene, Soft PLA,Flexible Filament, Neon & Glow in the Dark Filament, Limestone, LayBrick and many more.

3D printing is a disruptive technology and will see a huge impact on manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare. Niche applications such as arts and crafts, interior decoration, fashion accessories, footwear designs, jewellery designs, animation & gaming, customised footwear designs, furniture and modelling have potential as well. Those interested in enrolling in a 3D printing workshop can contact 3D Boulevard at info@3dboulevard.in.

The author is Tanuj Rai Taneja, founder, 3D Boulevard.