3D printing is becoming more prevalent and important in all areas of society, from the world of medicine through to the development of new engineering and manufacturing products. For schools, MGL believe that 3D printing can be a powerful tool in supporting the teaching and learning of key concepts in computing, design and technology, and the STEM subjects.
MGL’S teaching team have worked with an increasing number of schools over the past 12 months on a series of 3D printing workshops. The conclusions from our initial work echo many of the findings of the 2013 national pilot of 3D printing and its potential value within the curriculum. These key messages include:
Encourage Experimentation to Learn
Trial and error is inherent to the introduction of any relatively new technology within schools. With the right support and expertise from experienced practitioners of 3D printers, both pupils and teachers can quickly build up the confidence and skills required to make full and productive use of 3D printing.
Use 3D Printing as a Collaborative Tool
The process of 3D printing lends itself to project based teamwork for learners at all levels. Applying the right design software (and the appropriate complexity levels) and setting out clear outcomes for learners is critical to maximise the impact of 3D printing in schools.
Incorporate into your Schemes of Work
The scope for 3D printing to be applied as a cross-curricula tool is enormous. Over time, schools may wish to consider how best to apply this technology within appropriate schemes of work in order to identify its learning potential matched to key curriculum themes.