Exploring Valuable Lessons of 3D Printing in Education

Abstract

Technology has a valuable place in today’s educational world. Technology can be used by children and adults to can provide a positive impact on the learning experience. 3D printing is a technology that can transform a virtual object into a physical model that students can touch. The use of the technology can help student attention during class activities and promote student understanding of difficult concepts. Although 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, it was primarily used in certain fields such as marketing, manufacturing, aerospace, and architecture. As advances in technology have emerged, 3D printing has increased in availability into other areas including education. The increase of affordable 3D printers and variety of materials currently available offer educators a chance to bring this technology in to the lesson plan. 3D printing can stimulate student engagement, promote retention of complex concepts and encourage creative thinking. 3D printed models can provide powerful teaching aids because of their remarkable detail and accuracy (Preece, Williams, Lam, & Weller, 2013). This technology also allows for creative teaching with tactile objects by providing hands-on learning. Giving students a tactile structure was found to improve learning interaction and retention (Fernandez- Sanchez & Millan, 2013). Teachers could use printed models to demonstrate information that could be easily interpreted by students. Due to advancements in technology, there are many types of 3D printers available capable of producing a wide variety of models (Garcia, Yang, Mongrain, Leask, & Lachapelle, 2018). This gives educators freedom to create objects they feel might actually be helpful in learning. More schools and hospitals can invest in 3D printers due to advances in hardware, software, printing materials, and lower cost in printers. This literature review was performed in order to locate useful articles on the topic of using of 3D printing in education.

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University of North Texas
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