3D Printing in Education: Is Local Collaboration the Way to Go for 3D Printing in Schools?

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Donnelly, who is the Head of Technology and the creator of the popular Twitter account@educationCPD  ran a free after-school workshop on how to start 3D printing in the classroom.

Donnelly explained that, “The aim of the session was to help teachers get started with 3D printing, everyone at the session either had a printer that was not being used, collecting dust was the term two people used! The others had printers, but didn’t know how to set them up, what material to use are were unsure about software and STL files…. as you can imagine the session was ideal for these teachers.”

Taylor brought along his MakerBot and Digitiser scanner to the event to demonstrate how scanning technology can be used in the classroom.

Donnelly explained that the issues with 3D printers not being used in the classroom was a training issue.

“The issue seems to be that a school will invest in buying the printer, but then don’t follow up in giving teachers time to learn the new technology. I benefited from the DfE (Department for Education) funded printer and £5k worth of supply cover to learn to use Autodesk and get to grips with printing,” said Donnelly.

This is what will ultimately decide the future of 3D printing in schools… training. It’s all very well that printer companies give schools an educational discount on equipment, but where is the follow up or the ongoing training? Imagine being given a brand new car but not being taught how to drive it.

 

How To Manage Print Time In Lessons

As well as training on the 3D printers and scanners, Donnelly also completed some CAD training using Autodesk Inventor (which has released their software free to all schools) and showed the teachers how to model a basic key ring.

The next step Donnelly will complete is a follow up training session where teachers will share and provide feedback on how they have been using 3D printing in the classroom and also how to manage print time! Local 3D printing collaboration looks to be the most powerful way to keep 3D printing progressing.

For more information about John Donnelly, visit his blog 

 

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