Examples Of Augmented Teaching. 3D Printing At School To Stimulate Children’s Skills And Imagination

In recent years, the world of school has worked to make teaching increasingly exciting and, above all, in step with the times. We talk more and more often about augmented teaching, and technology integration has become a fundamental aspect of learning, significantly developing students’ critical thinking and stimulating their interaction and dialogue in STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).

3D printing is one of the most widespread and used technologies in the last period by the new learning possibilities it can offer students: educational laboratories have proved to be an effective tool in many schools. Designing and making 3D objects helps the little ones to develop their creative skills and stimulates adolescents in problem-solving. Printing an object can help understand what works or doesn’t work, and above all, it allows students to learn from their mistakes: because, as an old Latin adage goes, one knows wrong. And again, thanks to 3D printing, it is possible to simplify complex theoretical concepts: many teenagers seem to struggle to develop spatial intelligence.

Linking physical and spatial reality is problematic for many Generation Z boys and girls who need more imagination and creativity. 3D printing can offer these students new teaching methodologies (it can be used in a wide variety of school subjects, including humanities such as geography and history) and help them solve what more than just a lack of imagination is. For this reason, 3D printing will increasingly play a leading role in what has been renamed augmented teaching and is proving to be a fundamental tool, for example, for educational robotics laboratories. For this reason, it becomes a priority to adequately train the students and, above all, the teachers.

The advantages of a 3D printer

3D printing is the additive manufacturing process that starts from a digital design to arrive at the generation of a physical object (the so-called rapid prototyping). It is important to remember that 3D printing is also a real subject, and its use in the world of work is constantly growing. In addition to offering flexibility in design and a reduction in costs, the 3D printer allows designers to create complex shapes that cannot be achieved with conventional manufacturing methods while allowing unique customization and a significant decrease in development time. From the design sector to the biomedical one, learning how to model in 3D can be the key to finding a job. Understanding how a 3D printer works and how to use programs or applications is essential for those who want to create or design something: school work becomes important.

How to use a 3D printer at school

For teachers who want to adapt to the new methodology of augmented teaching, organizing 3D printing projects in their lessons can be an excellent way to foster interdisciplinarity: the possibility of building/rebuilding anything on a school desk and modifying it digitally. (also from other classes or educational institutions) offers the opportunity to experience a new teaching method. It is possible to carry out projects that involve children from kindergarten to primary school and so on.

Students, for example, will be able to draw toys while the 3D printer will take care of their realization. Creating an object is a process that requires several phases: you must design not only the project but also evaluate every possible problem that may occur during the printing phase. Once the project has been conceived, it is necessary to translate your idea through dedicated software and try to improve it (correcting errors and more). Ultimately it’s about trying, tweaking, and retrying until you reach your goal.

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