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3D-Printing in Education – The Digitization of Things takes learning to a new level

steam3eLearningworld Weekly Review

Think of a future where all things are created without any waste, with personalised design and with a machine that could be in everybody’s home. Buy an item on the internet and you receive a drawing that you can adapt to your own requirements or build the item by yourself from ground up, use your 3D-printer, and you got the item in your hand. No distribution cost, no waste-material and an item that fully meet your preferences. The passive customer of the 20th Century develops into an active creator of its own products. The fact that Microsoft added the application 3D builder within the launch of Windows 10 where you can create models for 3D-printing is one part of this trend. However, how is this technology used in practice today? How can you use 3D-printing in education?

The making of a tooth

One business where 3D-printing has taken its first steps towards revolution is the dental market. The Swedish company Dentware Scandinavia with its patented solution to produce tooth implants with 3D-printer is a leading company in this development. Every tooth or set of teeth is of course personalised after the customer’s individual requirements. The benefits are a much more cost-effective production, in a business that generally has had high costs; at the same time as there is no environmental impact during the production since there is no waste. This is very interesting example of Industry 4.0 put in practice.

Authentic Education with 3D-printing

Think of what installing a 3D-printing in the classroom education can do for e.g. teaching geometry. First, the calculation of the form, then get the model into the 3D-printer that produce the item, then you can measure if your calculation was right. The prospects for hands on teaching and learning are very exciting within e.g. S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) where the innovation is that 3D-printing of things turn theories into learning by doing practice. In a society where people go from being passive customers on a mass-market to become active creators of their own items, learning with help of 3D-printing has more dimensions than just to activate STEAM theories. Since it is also developing skills for the makerspace the future product-market is becoming.

Written by
LarsGoran Bostrom©

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