PrintLab Partners

BA(Hons) Product Design and Marketing

Head of Design Technology

How my Students use 3D Printing

With the development of a new 3D printing suite within our Graphic lab hosing eleven 3D printers, we have been able to develop our curriculum to offer a much more in-depth use of 3D printing, allowing all students access within a lesson. From year 5, students use TinkerCAD to develop the basic skills allowing them to understand 3-Dimensional thinking. They do this by designing and developing a jitterbug based on the humanities topics they are studying. As students move up the school we will be delivering the assistive device project and Little entrepreneur project at KS3 alongside more traditional projects. When students choose DT at GCSE they start to develop their understanding of Fusion 360 in more depth, applying what they have learnt into their NEA project work. At A-level, students investigate FEA within Fusion, developing a much deeper understanding of iteration based testing and feedback. Students also have the opportunity to attend the weekly 3D printing club where they get to learn basic electronics and programming through projects such as the 'OttoBot' or building prosthetic limbs for kids around the world.

The Importance of 3D Printing in Education

The world of work has always been an evolving environment. However, it has never been more pertinent than now; according to the world economic forum, 65% of students entering primary school today will be working in jobs that do not currently exist. With the Industrial revolution 4.0 on our doorstep, it is vital that as educators will expose students to ever-changing technical developments. 3D printing in 10, 15 or even 20 years, I'm sure will look different, however, what we want to teach our students is how to conceptualise Ideas in 3D environments, problem-solve through multiple and quick iterations, as well as allowing students to investigate how they can improve developments for society.

My Thoughts on PrintLab Classroom

The development of our new curriculum has been shaped and inspired by the PrintLab Classroom. The clear structure and simplistic yet effective user interface allow all abilities to follow the well-planned lessons, as well as allowing teachers to adapt and develop the resources to the student's needs. Within the department, we will be using the resources from year 5 onwards, as well as collaborating with subjects such as computer science and Physics.

My Advice for Teachers Getting Started with 3D Printing

Whether you have none or 20 3D printers in a classroom it doesn't matter, having a tangible product that you can hold in your hands and consider further developments is always great. However, the invaluable skills students develop through using 3D CAD to design, develop and test their ideas without even printing an object is an invaluable skill. However, printing a tangible object is 'super' cool. So don't wait, get designing now.

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