With an ever-increasing interest in STEM education and mounting statistics on the benefits of 3D printing in the classroom, it's time educational institutions understand how they can incorporate 3D printing into the curriculum, says Y Soft Corporation.
An in-depth project by the Department for Education found that 3D printing has an undeniable positive effect in education by increasing students' motivation and stimulating their curiosity. Similarly, Y Soft, which specialises in 3D printing solutions for the education sector, commissioned independent research among schools and found that educators overwhelmingly cited motivation, creativity and use of technology with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) subjects as the reasons their school was bringing 3D printers into the classroom.
However, Y Soft's research - which looked into the thinking and adoption of 3D printing in the education sector - also found that more than a third of educators (35%) cited an understanding of what 3D printing can do in their curriculum as a challenge.
"It's therefore essential that educational institutions consider how they will incorporate 3D printing into their curriculums before implementing any hardware or software," says Kevin Samuel, Business Development Manager at Y Soft. "It's great that institutions are looking at the technology as a tool for motivating, but they now need to look beyond this. It's not good enough for institutions to invest in the technology, without the thought behind it, as this will ultimately lead to it being under-utilised."
As an example, when learning about the concepts behind wind turbines, which involves physics and maths, students can create a 3D digital model, print it on a 3D printer in order to study the construction, test its ability to generate wind energy and adjust accordingly.
Kevin adds that "educators should consider that the use of 3D printers needs to generally get students familiar with the technology, as well as prepare them for future roles involving 3D printing. There are therefore many factors which need to be carefully considered before 3D printing can be successfully incorporated and institutions should ensure that educators and IT administration teams are brought together so that all understand their involvement."
YSoft be3D eDee is the industry's first 3D print solution that integrates print management and an accounting system with a 3D printer offering central control for a fleet of 3D printers. The 3D print management solution is based on Y Soft's own YSoft SafeQ, a globally recognised workflow solutions platform used today on 2D printers in schools around the world.