Many, many companies have popped up lately with the mission of bringing 3D printing into schools. That’s fantastic; as far as we’re concerned, there can never be too many organizations working to teach young people about 3D printing. A lot of playing catch-up is still involved in 3D printing education, and that’s not likely to end anytime soon as the technology continues to advance at such a rapid rate. One company working especially hard to help students and teachers catch up is England’s PrintLab.
The Lancashire-based company introduced an initiative over the summer to facilitate the setup of 3D printing labs in schools around the world, with the help of their large international network of resellers. More recently, PrintLab turned their focus to teachers with the release of an online guide to help educators get started with 3D printing. The technology, like other emerging technologies, stands apart from other subjects because it’s new enough that teachers are often learning right along with their students – or, in some cases, racing to keep up with them.
According to Jason Yeung, business development manager for PrintLab, there still aren’t enough resources available for educators to learn about 3D printing so that they can teach it to their students.
“3D printing is on route to disrupt the design and manufacturing scene that we see today and because of this, it is essential that we prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow,” Yeung said. “…Furthermore, it’s easy for educators to dive in to 3D printing without understanding the challenges, which causes problems when introducing 3D printing in the classroom. The PrintLab Teacher’s Guide is an honest, informative document that doesn’t shy away from the fact that integrating 3D printing into education can be difficult.”
The PrintLab Teacher’s Guide can either be viewed online or downloaded in PDF form from the company’s “Resources” platform (you’ll need to create an account). Not only does it introduce educators to 3D printing, it also includes links to sites where they can learn more. Teachers will learn about the vast array of 3D printing products available and how to develop curriculum based on the technology. PrintLab makes no secret of their enthusiasm about the subject, either, pointing out in the guide how much teachers have to gain from learning about and teaching 3D printing.
“It’s an amazing time for teachers – several years from now when they see their students innovating out in the field, they can look back with pride at the fact that they were the ones who were there at the very beginning, to introduce them to this exciting, innovative technology,” said Yeung. “But before this happens, they need to ensure their own journey is a successful one. We at PrintLab want to help in any way we can, which is why the Teachers Guide is just the beginning of a series of resources to support the growth of 3D printing in education.”
Learning enough about a new subject to be able to teach it is intimidating – especially a subject as complex and ever-changing as 3D printing. Thankfully, companies like PrintLab will be there to offer support to teachers every step of the way. Discuss in the PrintLab forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Educators NZ / Images: PrintLab]
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