How can students and teachers benefit from 3D printing in schools?

Published on December 6, 2018 by Michelle J.

At Macquarie University in Australia, a team of researchers conducted a one-year study. Here they researched the benefits of 3D printing in schools. As well as 3D design in the Makerspaces of primary schools. More than 500 students were observed and interviewed to see how 3D technologies affect them both inside and outside the classroom. The study shows that there is still a lot to be done to help teachers integrate 3D printing in schools but the results are encouraging.

The integration of Makerspaces into schools is a practice that is growing around the world. These manufacturing spaces allow students to carry out their projects and develop their creativity. All while discovering new technologies such as robotics, 3D printing or computer programming. In the absence of having Makerspaces in their school. Some schools simply offer to have one or more 3D printers in the classroom or even in the canteen.

3D printing in schools

Photo Credits: Empire Makers

As part of the research, 27 teachers from three Australian schools took the Makers Empire Learning by Design Professional Development course. These teachers then gave 24 courses of 3D printing and design. This using the Makers Empire 3D software, to more than 500 students. Most of the courses taught were recorded, but also the lesson plans, lessons and comments of the teachers.

Results from 3D printing in schools

After analysing these comments, researchers can say that 100% of 3D printing and modeling courses have a high degree of student engagement. Students showed a definite interest in creativity (71%) and the conceptual approach (64.5%). Finally, 94% of students surveyed said they wanted to continue 3D designing after school. Whether it be for entertainment or for their future professional career. As for teachers, they became much more comfortable with technology and enthusiastic about teaching it. This confidence has increased by 35%.

3D printing in schools

Photo Credits: Empire Makers

The study goes further in the relationship between technology and teachers. Since some of them wanted to introduce a similar pedagogy for other courses, apart from Makerspaces. “Several teachers indicated that they had shifted to be more collaborative, flexible, and comfortable with technology” states the study’s authors. “Many teachers entered learning partnerships with students, and as a result, students came to see their teachers as models of lifelong learning.” The Likert scale below shows teachers’ attitudes towards Makerspace before, after, and after the implementation of learning outcomes in lessons. It shows the change in attitude of teachers and the importance of learning how to use 3D technologies at school.

3D printing in schools

Likert’s scale shows the evolution of teachers’ feelings

In conclusion of the study, Australian researchers are developing a series of recommendations. They are based on the comments of teachers observed and interviewed. They encourage schools to help their students and teachers find the time and resources to learn how to use 3D printing. As well as discover 3D design during class. Find more information on the University website HERE .

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