DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: 3D PRINTING

Technology has transformed the classroom over the past decade. Computers, smart boards and laser cutters - which were once few and far between - are now commonplace thanks to the £900m spent on education tech every year. These changes have gone a long way in creating a more engaging learning experience, but the next wave of developments will take things to the next level, by creating more sensory experiences that help educators convey concepts to students in new, hands-on ways. So what should your school be looking to invest in? Here are three top choices.

1. The power of virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) has the power to immerse users in a completely new environment. When applied to education, it can enable students to virtually visit a broad range of places and see theories conceptualised in a highly immersive way, all from their classroom. For example, VR headsets are being used by schools in Dubai to virtually transport students to Egypt, where they can measure the bases of pyramids.

With the appropriate financial investment, this technology could easily be instituted in the UK and used for the same purpose in a whole host of subjects. Students could take a virtual trip inside a live volcano for Geography, or go on a tour of the human heart when learning about its structure in Biology. Anything is possible, and everything will deliver a sensory, interactive and highly engaging learning opportunity.

2. The potential of smart materials

Over the next couple of years, we can expect to see intelligent surfaces and smart fabrics make their entrance onto the classroom stage. These will build on existing smartboard technology by turning any wall or tabletop into an interactive canvas for collaborative learning. For instance, it could be used in a Maths class to enable students to work together on a problem, facilitating not only academic development but also social skills.

3. The use of 3D printing

3D printing provides numerous possibilities for creating tailored, multi-dimensional learning tools that can bring experiences normally only accessible outside the classroom inside its walls. For instance, it would be financially and logistically impossible for most students studying Ancient Egypt to travel to Cairo to see the funeral mask of Tutankhamun. However, with 3D printing they could not only print a replica - bringing them face-to-face with the history they’re studying - but also handle the object, which is impossible with real artefacts.

As 3D printing technology improves, so does the level of engagement it can deliver. It used to only be possible to print in one or two colours, but new models can now create full-colour designs. For colourful objects, like our Tutankhamen example, these advanced capabilities make all the difference in creating a more realistic and visually engaging copy.

Designing a complex 3D model using CAD or CAM may be beyond the capabilities of certain age groups. However, many 3D printing companies produce scanners that enable users to create designs by scanning existing objects and converting them into printable files, as well as offering pre-made printable designs. This means that students could, for instance, download and print molecule parts, recreating the type of experience they could have at a science museum.

The value of virtual reality headsets, smart materials and 3D printers for facilitating learning across all subjects by providing more creative educational experiences is clear. With this in mind, it’s vital that schools and their governing bodies direct the £129 billion expected to be spent on edtech globally by 2020 into these avenues so that pupils can have the best learning experiences possible.

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When it comes to top classroom tech, 3D printing is continuously making headlines. Its place in the classroom is being cemented as the next generation learns to mould and manipulate the technology to feed their creativity, with applications across STEAM subjects and beyond. Historically, 3D printing has been out of reach for many smaller budgets, but rapid developments in the technology means that ‘plug and play’ 3D printers are more accessible and affordable than ever, with desktop models available for as little as a couple of hundred pounds.

The open-source CREATE Education Project is delighted to be joining Ultimaker on Stand F443 at Bett 2017. Visit us to find out how we can support you in introducing and embedding 3D printing technology across the curriculum, from Primary schools right up to further and higher education. We will be showcasing a variety of innovative school 3D printing projects along with professional development and classroom resources, all available free of charge from our community website at www.createeducation.com.

One thing that I have found is that to have a successful makerspace in your school, you need to keep up the momentum. What are the new activities that need to be added? How do we integrate what we are making with our curriculum? How do we get more teachers and students involved in maker culture?

3D printers are one of the hottest new innovations in the manufacturing and design world, and this new tech is fast moving past its infancy. To many, it's a technology that seems futuristic for the time in which we live, never mind the classroom – but nevertheless is one that holds enormous potential not just in the STEM industries, but in schools as well.

Capturing the attention of a classroom full of over-zealous students and making them want to learn more about your ‘pet subject’ is often something of a challenge and a source of frustration to all concerned, so any prop or piece of technology that helps is usually welcomed with open arms by the hard pressed class tutor. More often than not, however, such magical enablers have been hard to come by. This (in my experience, anyway) often leads to countless wasted hours of futile planning and crafting followed inevitably by the sullen after school destruction of exercise sheets, Powerpoint slide-shows and lesson notes all destined for that every growing bin that is usually filed as ‘My Old Lesson Plans’.

3D printing is steadily transforming the world through innovation, speed, localised manufacturing and empowering the creativity of the individual. Where computers and mobile technology changed the world and the landscape within education, 3D printing adds another dimension to learning and gives rise to the next generation of engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, artists and industry innovators. The notion to innovate and excite the classroom, to transform learning processes and to introduce the ability to simplify complex design processes can all be achieved with a 3D printer. Here, I discuss how the concept can be used across the curriculum.

3D printing is an exciting field, but how should schools approach it if they’re interested? James Hannam, experienced teacher and tech-innovator, discusses how he’s used 3D printers over the years, and looks at the options available to teachers.

After reading Peter Jones’ excellent article on 3D printing in the latest Innovate My School magazine, I wanted to offer my findings as a teacher (of all things geek). I am hoping that this piece will give you an informal starting point to the possibilities and considerations of 3D printing in the classroom.

Advances in the science industry tend to bleed into the education sector. Paul Croft, director at Ultimaker, briefly explains how the maker movement is important for STEM subjects, and the opportunities offered by this development.

If you believe the hype, the next industrial revolution has begun! Whether the impact of this unquestionable ground-swell reaches revolutionary status is yet to be determined, but people are definitely 'making' and creating again and taking control of their own environment.

As 3D printing becomes more accessible to the public, educators are learning how this technology can revolutionise the classroom.

How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize the Classroom

Image courtesy of OnlineDegrees.org.

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