Zhejiang is an idyllic province in Eastern China along the East China Sea that boasts water towns and beautifully restored historic districts. However, it’s not all about rural beauty or preserved history, the capital city Hangzhou boasts a population of 8.7 million and a vibrant arts and education scene. It’s also the location of a brand new 3D centered classroom in Hangzhou Zingzhi Middle School, thanks to Shining 3D, a local high-tech enterprise specializing in providing 3D digitizing and printing solutions.
The first step to helping the students at the school become comfortable with using the technology was a simple scanning activity led by teachers from Shining 3D. The object they chose to scan was a banana, the digital model for which was created using an EinScan-S 3D scanner. The students were fascinated by this ability and the digital model was presented to their delighted cries of ‘banana!’ – which makes me wonder if the Minions might have paved the way for this interest. According to a press release from Shining 3D:
“Everyone on the scene was quite interested in reversal design and exclaimed ‘banana’ when the full color banana scanning model turned up. This 3D curriculum shows how desktop level 3D scanner and 3D printers inspire student creativity.”
No mention is made as to whether or not other fruits caused the same level of excitement.
While on site, teachers from Shining 3D also introduced the students to Rhino and its capabilities for modeling as well as discussed the theoretical context for thinking about creation in 3D. Finally, the students were allowed to personalize an object by adding their name and then watch it as it was created by a 3D printer.
These types of 3D printing labs are popping up in schools all over the world, with China making a particularly strong push to integrate the technology into its educational curriculum. The question still remains as to whether China’s traditional manufacturing economy, based on its humanpower prowess, can be realigned to fully take advantage of the creative and individualized opportunities that make 3D printing more than just another fancy tool. However, even if the industry isn’t the revolution within China that it has been in some other places, educating its students to fluency with the technology prepares them to go out into a world increasingly dependent on 3D design and creation.
Not only are schools recognizing the benefits their students receive from learning about 3D technology, but businesses are realizing the benefits of an educated populace. The more people who know how to use the technology, the more likely it is that they will actually use it. It’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense. And with a population like China has to offer, that’s an enormous number of potential consumers.
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