So you have been tasked with launching 3D printing in your educational institution? Where do you start? Here are some pointers to help you get started. There is a lot more research to be done but this is a good starting point.
1. What are your schools objectives with 3D Printing?This is the first thing you have to do. You really have to boil down to what is important for your school. Mostly, it starts off with someone (usually the principal or head of department) having heard "ALOT" about 3D printing. It is important that you try to understand what it is that they want to achieve by introducing 3D printing - what are the long term goals?
Here are some examples from schools:
- Enable all students to understand design and Computer-Aided Design
Develop and design their own product around a theme
2. Explore a format
Do you want to start with a full course in school or would it just be a short program during the term, post-exam or holiday periods? This is important as it would enable you to choose an interest and an objective aligned with the timeline.
3. Explore an interest
There are many different things 3D Printing can be used in your education. Pick an idea or a more specific topic for the first run. A good suggestion would be to sit down with a few teachers to explore what 3D Printing can do for your school. Here are some more specific objectives that schools have explore:
- Students to design teaching aids for a specific subject
- Students to help design trophies to give our during school competition
- Students to work with an old aged home
The infographic below are some ideas,
(photo from: https://www.teachthought.com/technology/10-ways-3d-printing-can-be-used-in-education/)
4. Think out of the box and think large
Our students are capable of many great things. Given the right mindset, training, tools and resources they will be able to change the world we live in.
3D Printing at this level is still in its infancy and everything can still be explored. As an educator, you have a big responsibility of ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for your students to explore.
5. Do you need a trainer?
The main question for most teachers. The answer generally would be no. There are enough resources online and amongst your colleagues to have you start the program on your own without the need for a trainer.
But most teachers are overworked and generally have very little interest in exploring a new subject from scratch. In that case, get a good trainer with all the right resources to help you. Work with the trainer to come up with objectives and specifications for the program. Also look up the training program.
At Meka 3D Printing, we have been working with schools and institutions since 2013 to help them get started on 3D printing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no obligation discussion. We are very happy to help!
Featured image from: http://www.flashforge.com/3d-printing-for-education/