3D printing in the classroom should be an essential part of any STEM/STEAM curriculum. With the ever expanding reach of additive manufacturing, starting to teach 3D Printing at he earliest age is essential for a 21st century education. Recently at the TCT show Carbon 3D showcased their 3D printing collaboration with Adidas through the design of a 3D Printed training shoe. With plans for approximately 2 million pairs a year to be 3D Printed, this will become the biggest 3D Printed item in the world. The transition from small volume prints to the mass production of 3D Printed parts will have matured and the question of ‘how will 3D Printing make it ways into people’s home’ will be answered, people will bring the technology into their homes on their feet.
But how does this relate to 3D printing in the classroom? As the industry expands and develops there will be the urgent need for designers and engineers who can be the work horses of the industry. I once listened to an Adobe 3D Printing presentation at the 3D Printshow in London 2015, and the phrase I remember from the presenter was ‘content is king’. Without content, 3D Printers will not run and the industry as a whole will stagnate. But how do you learn the basics of the technology and how to design? The answer is in the classroom. Learning the basics of 3D Printing and how to design models is an essential part of a modern education curriculum. Image a world where students were not taught how to use computers until they stumbled across them in a job. Imagine a world where computers coding was never taught? What if we were never taught textiles and how to use a sewing machine in school? Opportunities for teenagers would be stagnate once they left high schools. There would be an unskilled generation of teenagers who would struggle for employment. If we don’t adopt the mass education of 3D Printing the classroom then we are doing a disservice to our current generation of children.
3D printing lessons should be more than simple CAD modelling instructions
The question of ‘where do you start when you want to teach 3D Printing in the classroom? It’s a common question that most teachers ask when they first start the process of preparing to teach 3D Printing. Our first blog details the curriculum content and learning objectives of each lesson resource and is a great place to go to when thinking about what your lessons should include. Teachers have a wide variety of choice when it comes to hardware, there are some excellent 3D Printers available for use in the classroom, but what about lesson content and a curriculum? In most cases 3D printing companies will quite gladly sell a teacher the printer and then leave them to fend for themselves when it comes to how to teach it in the classroom. For the teaching of 3D Printing to to effective lessons have to reach further than simply providing instructions on how to create a CAD model. Whilst CAD modelling runs through the core of many classrooms when learning about 3D Printing, there are a whole host of other learning opportunities to embrace. There have been multiple attempts by some leading manufactures to try and provide curriculum content for the classroom, but many are based around selling their own printers and are not universally transferable to other types of 3D Printers and software. Most also do not go past one lesson with step by step instructions on how to model an object. For learning to be of high quality there needs to be an in depth scheme of work that can be taught across a prolonged period of time. In education classrooms around the world acronyms such as ‘the big picture’ and ‘why are we learning this’ have formed an integral part of a teachers toolkit and it should be clear to students why they are learning about 3D Printing. By simply gaining the skills to create a model and 3D Print is the absolute minimum of what should be taught. Around this there should be the social, moral, ethical and cultural implications of using 3D Printers. Questions such as ‘what are the environmental impact of using ABS verse PLA?’ offer opportunities for deep thinking and extended discussion. What about ‘how will 3D printing effect jobs in emerging economies?’ As the technology grows, there will be a an increased demand for local production, especially in the customisation of 3D Printed goods. Will Adidas 3D Print their training shoes on demand in store? Or will they be produced at a local manufacturing plant? All of these scenarios provide teachers and their students with the ripe opportunity for learning topics beyond a simple lesson of how to CAD model an object.
3D printing lessons for the classroom, created by teachers for teachers.
The learnbylayers curriculum has been created by current teachers and this is what differentiates us from 3DPrinting manufacturers. The content created has been written by current classroom teachers who are 3DPrinting in their classroom every day. The lessons have been reviewed by leading independent authority figures in education and offer a truly well rounded quality assured learning experience for your students. A recent article about edutech explained that for ‘educational technology to be successful it has to come from teachers.’ Teachers know what is best for the classroom, 3DPrinting manufactures don’t. A 3DPrinting sales person won’t understand the dynamics of teaching 25 12 year olds how to create their first CAD model. They won’t understand how to pitch the curriculum at the right level and how to differentiate the resources for the varying needs of the students in the classroom. All the resources created for learnbylayers are fully editable so the teacher can tailor the content to the needs of the students. Each lesson contains a starter task, main objectives, main learning tasks, plenary tasks to embed the learning and homework tasks. At the end of each module is an end of class assessment so you can assess what your students have learnt. All classroom tasks, homework tasks and assessments have been designed to be self assess or peer assessed by the students. As well as reducing teacher workload, this also provides a rich learning opportunity for the students to be involved in assessment for learning. Children take pride in their work and they want to succeed, by involving them in the assessment process is proven teaching strategy to enrich their learning.
All of the content offered by learnbylayers comes with a lifetime license so you can teach it year after year. We will be updating the lesson packs with an advanced 3DPrinting module in the coming months to build upon the basic and intermediate lesson modules already published.