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3D Printing for Educational Purposes

Can’t Imagine Abstract Things? Just Print Them!

3D printing is a hot topic in education these days, and this ever-developing technology is helping students grasp abstract topics and ideas. From fine arts to math, universities everywhere are using 3D printers in the classroom – and here’s why!

3D Printing – It’s an Art!
From Sculpture 101 to culinary school, 3D printers are being used more and more within the arts, and with amazing results. Architecture students can use the printers to recreate their designs, allowing them to examine how their structures will look in the real world and make immediate tweaks and changes to improve their designs. At culinary institutes, students can design new and different cupcake and loaf pans, cookie cutters, and decoration molds, ensuring that they are able to stay at the forefront of food aesthetics.

Turning the Abstract into Concrete
Math is full of abstract and theoretical ideas that can be challenging for students to grasp. Using 3D printers to visualize and create mathematical concepts, shapes, and curves makes it much easier for students to understand how a theorem or shape actually appears in reality. 3D printers also make it easier for professors to effectively teach these ideas, as they ensure that both audial and visual learners have an equal footing in the classroom.3D Printing for Educational Purposes

Engineering New Ideas
Many engineers pride themselves at being at the forefront of technology and innovation, so it only makes sense to have the latest technology – such as 3D printers – in the classroom. Students can learn from this new manufacturing technology itself, as well as utilize it for their own designs and to solve engineering problems. Using a 3D printer to create prototypes can help students to actually test their engineering skills and to physically see where improvements may be needed. Students can also see how existing parts, such as the various components of a car engine, may be modified – they can then print and test these, thereby creating innovation within the engineering industry through printing!

Anatomy (Past & Present) in 3D
The human body is one of the most complex machines on the planet, and students everywhere – be them freshman biology students or final year medical students – are learning about anatomy through the use of 3D printers. By creating 3D images and cross-sections of organs, nerve systems, and the brain, students have one of the most effective study aids on the planet!

In addition to the workings of the human body, 3D printing can also help archaeology students to examine artifacts, skeletal remains, and fossils in greater detail. By printing such artifacts, students are able to physically handle what would normally be ‘hands-off’ materials from museums, exhibitions, and archaeological digs. What were once abstract concepts and 2D pictures or diagrams are suddenly brought to life in the classroom using 3D printers, helping students become better learners and critical thinkers.

Whatever you’re majoring in, it’s likely that a 3D printer will be coming to your classroom soon! The advantages it gives to both students and professors make this an important tool for learning across the arts and sciences – hopefully you’ll get to try one out for yourself!

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Sep 1, 2015