3D Printing Gains Momentum in the Online Classroom

The year 2020 has been synonymous with the word change. We've had so many pivotal moments in 2020, including an abrupt and revolutionary change in our corporate and educational landscapes. The institutions that we had come to think of as unchanging, the classroom, the corporate headquarters, in an instant, were changed, possibly forever.  This year, so many of us have had to adjust to working from home and what's been extremely challenging is educating our children from home. The change has been sudden, and even with the summer that has passed, there has been little time to prepare longitudinal lesson plans covering a topic thoroughly. In this article, we take a look at how 3D printing supports remote teaching and learning.

A new normal

As a result of the pandemic, educators across the globe have taken on the mantel of teaching a remote classroom. It didn't come with an instruction manual, and it hasn't been easy. The traditional classroom is in flux, and as some students went back to school this fall, hybrid classroom and online classroom models are the expected offering, unthinkable this time a year ago. The constant in all of this learning has been a sharp increase in the use of technology to support remote teaching models. If the steep learning curve of mastering technology has not been enough, educators are forced with the added challenge of creating engaging lesson plans for their remote students, ensuring that they are as supported and learning as much as possible.

3D online learning online

On the same timeline, 3D printing has gained momentum in the new online classroom. 3D printing as a delivery method for teaching critical STEAM subjects is hands-on and encourages learning. Using a 3D printer is a great way to inspire the inventors and creative thinkers of tomorrow by bringing complex subjects to life. 3D printing assists in the development of critical skills, such as problem-solving, communication, and having the ability to research. The Y Soft BE3D eDee 3D printing solution was designed specifically for use in education, created to encourage self-motivation in learning. It is safe and easy to use and perfect for the classroom.

The quandary is – with 3D printers located inside schools with students learning from home- how do teachers bring the benefit of 3D printing to their students?

Easy and Fun

3D printing lessons and plans can sometimes be complicated to execute in the classroom and especially with students online. Creating engaging 3D printing materials can be difficult and time-consuming, and educators have lived through the hardship of what to do and how to do it over this past year. Schools worldwide have said that as they developed lessons that could be delivered online, 3D lessons gained in popularity and importance. 3D printing with accompanying lesson plans quickly became a resource for teachers in many different subject areas.

3D lesson plans designed especially for educators bring all sorts of subject matter, including STEAM subject matters to life through various teaching aids, such as 3D model files, videos, student worksheets, and presentations to introduce projects to students. 3D printing options are entirely available online to both teachers and students.

The various resources available in 3D printing offerings help teachers build lesson plans to be delivered remotely. At the same time, students can develop their own 3D skills from home by taking advantage of the easy-to-use, free resources, and platforms. These lessons and materials keep the educational experience flowing and enable teaching STEAM classes using 3D from home. Premium lessons are available, as well.

When the pandemic first hit, 3D printing and attached lesson plans were available to help plug the gaps in resources that were identified by teachers looking for alternative solutions. Even those who have never before used a 3D printer were able to run remote 3D lessons and learned how to be adept at it quite quickly. Students can send their completed model files to be printed on 3D printers in the classroom by the teacher, and teachers can allow students to pick up the files later or send them to their student's homes.

The future is now

Investing in 3D printing not only prepares your school for today’s changed and future learning paradigms, but it also provides an additional resource from which to provide inspiration and support in teaching. The shift in education that has taken place in 2020, from the traditional classroom to online to hybrid to whatever the future holds, should not mean degradation in the amount and level of learning for a student.  Instead, it should mean we have ushered in a new era of creativity and growth for the student learning experience. Teaching remotely with 3D printing is investing not only in your students’ future, but the future of education, as we embark on new, hybrid classroom models.