3D Printing in the Classroom to Accelerate Adoption of Technology
Interest in 3D printing is increasing, and there are new programs introducing the technology into the classroom to encourage students to get exposure to the potential of 3D printing at an early age.
In a recent New York Times blog post following President Obama’s State of the Union address, the question was posed:
“Can the United States get a foothold in manufacturing one 3D printer at a time?”
The article continued to cite several examples of how education programs for 3D printing may make this reality.
First, the Creative Machine Labs at Cornell:
Hod Lipson, an associate professor and the director of the Creative Machines Lab at Cornell, said “3-D printing is worming its way into almost every industry, from entertainment, to food, to bio- and medical-applications.”
It won’t necessarily directly create manufacturing jobs, except perhaps for the printers themselves. Dr. Lipson, the co-author of “Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing,” said that the technology “is not going to simply replace existing manufacturing anytime soon.” But he said he believed that it would give rise to new businesses. “The bigger opportunity in the U.S. is that it opens and creates new business models that are based on this idea of customization.”
Second, new programs at the University of Virginia:
In addition to the lab that the president mentioned, a federally financed manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio, schools are embracing the technology. The University of Virginia has been working to introduce 3D printers into some programs from kindergarten through 12th grade in Charlottesville to prepare students for a new future in manufacturing.
“We have 3D printers in classrooms, and in one example, we’re teaching kids how to design and print catapults that they then analyze for efficiency,” said Glen L. Bull, professor and co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education. “We believe that every school in America could have a 3D printer in the classroom in the next few years.”
The education system may want to speed things up. The time between predictions for 3D printers and the reality of what they can accomplish is compressing rapidly.
Read the full feature at the NYTimes blog.