Seeking a 3D printer education in America may be one of the most in-demand educational goals in another few years based on what 3D printers are inspiring. Even though there was a mistaken notion that America can’t produce skilled engineers any more, evidence proves to the contrary. Would 3D printers help bring a renaissance to the engineering talent waiting in the wings? Based on the gradual availability of 3D printers in schools, kids may be getting an early exposure to engineering before they even enter high school.
How Schools are Already Using 3D Printers
An article from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in Texas shows an excellent example of Middle America starting to use 3D printers in the public school system. Thanks to the 3D printing company Makerbot, various schools in Texas (both public and private) have acquired 3D printers and started to create things that would have been unfathomable just a decade ago.
Some of the items those schools are creating include such things as robotic hands as a new wave toward creating prosthetic limbs. One student mentioned in the above Lubbock report created a similar hand as inspiration toward someday creating prosthetic limbs for injured war vets. It’s just one example of how giving kids the tools to create things on an 3D printer is inspiring them to think like an engineer.
The real benefits of 3D printers may be more formative above letting kids express themselves creatively. Students who grew up in past generations might have felt frustrated wanting to create something and not having the proper technology to do it. In that regard, it’s possible it prevented more engineers from happening in America due to a lack of exposure to nurture ideas.
But what more are 3D printers doing now that enable a new thought process behind building future engineers?
The Tangibility of 3D Printed Items
With 3D printers already providing advanced educational ability, it’s the ability for students to study tangible objects that could create a more astute generation. Any class from art to science can scan and print a tangible 3D item to use for study. Printing things like a human brain or works of iconic art can allow students to get a literal feel of design and help them think with an engineering frame of mind.
This alone lives up to the notion that 3D printers are an engineering education in one box. They’re also the key to shaping a new generation in ways that give students open freedom to create and brainstorm early for engineering issues of the future. This can finally take away the notion that you have to wait until college to gain any exposure to how things are made.