Quality education is the bedrock of a society. All around the world, teachers are looking for new ways to make classroom instruction engaging and interesting. Physical models have been integrated into the curriculum to spark interest in students for a long time. A few of the common constraints of physical models are: lack of availability, lack of access to quality models, and the high cost involved in production or procurement.
Advantages of 3D Printers in Education
A decade ago models were available only in museums and the labs of select institutions. The computer and internet revolutions, gave us access to information from different corners of the world. Audio Visual teaching aids were used where physical models could not be procured. 3D Printers are the next logical step in bringing information into the classroom in a more effective way. Affordability of 3D printers are the key to bringing a perceptible change in use of physical models in the classroom.
3D printers are used to print fully functional models. Use of a working model to teach is like allowing the students to peer into the internal workings of the subject. Working models are highly useful for scientific lessons where understanding the fundamentals is essential. It has been observed that students tend to retain more when they a watch a model in action and are able to interact with the model.
3D printers are manufacturing units in themselves. The process of waiting for a model designed and produced by somebody else does not exist when using a 3D printer. The models can be downloaded and then suitably modified and printed in the classroom. This gives the school a greater degree of freedom in choosing models as per priority and complexity rather than mere market availability.
Access to Models
Imagine a class on dinosaurs in a school located in a remote area. The teacher can display all the species on a PC or a much better option would be to print those models to scale so that the students can hold them, feel and identify them. This is now possible in anywhere.
Generally cost of a product is linked to scale of manufacture. Customized educational models used in classrooms may not be economical to purchase. Secondly, even if it is economical in the country of manufacture, after import, it might not. 3D printing models is relatively an economical process. It may consume time according to the complexity of the model, but on the whole it costs less than the other options typically.
If the students can be engaged in the 3D printing, they will appreciate the various facets of the model which cannot be taught in the general course of class room instructions. This may allow the teachers to pave a way for encouraging students to think about the design in new ways, and spur innovation.
3D Printers have brought the manufacturing process to everybody’s door step. Time is ripe for teacher’s to make use of them to capture the attention of the students and encourage them further to draw them into participating in classroom activities with more enthusiasm. Happy Printing!