A 3D Printer in Every School

In the past few weeks I’ve seen several requests from educators looking for information to help convince someone to fund a 3D printer in their school. I haven’t been able to find any resources that are suitable for a cut and paste into a grant application or to the school board. Here are some resources I’ve put together to argue for a 3D printer in every school. The flow of the speaking points are for a Board of Supervisor or School Board that are more focused on tax rates than instructional programs. I would switch the order when speaking to educators.

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama said that 3D printing “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/12/remarks-president-state-union-address

3D printing is seen as a potential source of high-tech job growth in the United States. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/tech/innovation/obama-3d-printing/

Projections for the additive manufacturing (3D Printing) industry show strong growth in the next decade. http://www.statista.com/statistics/284863/additive-manufacturing-projected-global-market-size/

3D printing is being described as the third industrial revolution that is the future of manufacturing.  http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/28/3d-printing-infographic/

3D Printing is a generalized term that includes computer assisted creation of everything from organs to rocket engines and food to houses. Impact isn’t just traditional manufacturing but any field that makes a physical product. http://www.inktechnologies.com/blog/the-possibilities-of-a-3d-printer/

Colleges are working to integrate 3D printing into their engineering programs. http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/ProgramstoWatch.aspx

In the same way that 3D printing is revolutionizing industries, 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize what is happening in the classroom. http://www.onlinedegrees.org/how-3d-printing-will-revolutionize-the-classroom/

Low cost devices make 3D printing accessible to every school and classroom. http://sdu.ictp.it/3d/book.html

The UK government is expanding the use of 3D printers across the curriculum. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10389489/3D-printers-to-be-introduced-into-the-classroom.html

Pilot study shows promising results. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251439/3D_printers_in_schools.pdf

“All the pupils who have been involved with the 3D printer so far have been inspired by its possibilities. The opportunity to realize a concept or idea quickly into a 3D product is an incredibly powerful teaching tool.” David Jermy – Head of DT, Settlebeck School

Growing number of institutions are providing printable files of items in their collections. These printed models provided students a tactile classroom manipulative. http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/models , http://3d.si.edu/browser , http://africanfossils.org/search

Although low cost 3D printers are relatively new, the benefits of hands on learning for students are firmly based in the proven education theories of Piaget, Dewey and Papert. Authors Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager identify Digital Fabrication (3D Printing) as one of three game changers in education. “This is the perfect time for classrooms to explore the idea of personal fabrication.” http://www.inventtolearn.com/

I would actually recommend at least 5 3D printers per school. 1 prosumer unit for the media center/makerspace and 4 cheaper/smaller units to checkout. Assuming there will be one or two teachers that want to​ use all the time. When you are cranking out a class set of projects, two printers are better than one.