I was working in a school today and was determined to get their 3D printer up and running. I had spotted it earlier this year sitting on a shelf in the photocopy room, jammed in between boxes of paper and at the bottom of the shelf. It had clearly been there for a long time.
3D printers can be so awesome in a learning environment, so long as what the students are printing out is worthwhile and not just novely stuff. This is when the purchase of a 3D printer runs out of steam educationally.
So today I got it going, got the kids going, got the teachers going and the printer is out of the photocopy room and actually in the classroom. I have furnished the teachers with a range of ideas, backed by teaching resources I have created that fully and meaningfully integrate 3D printing into a curriculum area. My Matariki 3D printed LED badge project is a good example of this.
Once the machine was up and running it acted like a magnet, drawing the students in, they still think its cool, the task now is to maintain that momentum and ensure that the printer is constantly used to print out educationally significant content, designed by the students.