3D Printing in the Classroom

3D Printing in the Classroom

3D Printing in the Classroom – A Schools Handbook for Northern Ireland was published in partnership with Northern Ireland’s Creative Learning Centres and FabLab NI to provide teachers and school leaders with impartial guidance and inspiration around the 3D printing in the Classroom.

As 3D printers become ever more important in business and enterprise, schools have also sought to utilise them as a tool which takes creativity, design and IT skills and applies them to learning throughout the curriculum.

This new resource provides schools with key information around what 3D printing is and how it is impacting upon the workplace, before looking at its potential role in Education and providing a series of subject-specific exemplars of ways in which 3D printing can support learning across the curriculum.

There is also a guide to selecting and buying a 3D printer and a series of case studies from schools across the world to equip teachers with the essential knowledge required to deliver innovative creative learning in their classrooms.

The Handbook is free to download below.

Building Your Own 3D Printer

Teachers from across Northern Ireland had the opportunity to build their own Hephestos 2 3D printer, along with training on how to use it across the curriculum.  

The aim of this project was to make 3D printing accessible to schools and teachers who had an interest and enthusiasm in introducing 3D printing within their class. The teachers did not have to have any technical skills in 3D printing, all that was asked was that they have the drive and ambition to learn and deliver an in-class project.  

The desire to use 3D printing within schools was evident, with 75 schools, both primary and post-primary from across Northern-Ireland, applying to participate in the project. After a lengthy selection process, 16 schools were selected to take part.  

Mr Patrick Gill, Primary 6 Teacher from Holy Family Primary School in Derry, a successful participant in this project stated,

'The reason we wanted to be involved in this project was due to the advantages of using 3D printing within our school. It is cross-curricular, enables problem solving, encourage pupils to work as a team, develops collaboration, teaches the pupils to compromise, improves social awareness, boost creativity and promotes entrepreneurial thinking. Each of these advantages promote important life skills which the children need to develop. Not only would a 3D printer promote learning, it would also further staff as they learn about use this new technology.'

As 3D printing is expanding within industry, it is important that we prepare our students for jobs within this sector. The only way we can do this is to ensure that children today are exposed to and have experience of all forms of technology. It is therefore important that our schools and teachers are presented with opportunities to embrace new technologies within the classroom.  

Twenty teachers from 16 schools attended two half day workshops at the Nerve Centre’s Creative Learning Centre in Derry, where each school was presented with their very own BQ Hephestos 2, build your own printer kit.

After the first workshop each of the teachers took their printers back to their school where they finished building and testing out their printer.  

The following week each of the teachers returned to the Nerve Centre for their second workshop, which focused on 3D modelling and slicing software used to create 3D designs and products on the Hephestos 2 printers.