How can 3D printing change the way we think about education?

I know very little about 3D printing, so I was very excited to learn about some of the things I could make with a 3D printer. I have to say that after reading the articles about 3D printing, I was very surprised at how advanced it is and I wanted to see it in action! I decided to search YouTube, so I could actually see how a 3D printer works. I watched a video by Ground3d Amsterdam (2013) that showed a printer creating a vase and it was amazing.

One of our required reading choices explained 3D printing. It stated, “3D printing is made possible by fusing layers upon layers of materials made from durable plastics and metals based on a template, designed with a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. Each layer is about 0.1 mm thick and consist of liquid, powder and sheet materials” (Hongkiat, n.d.).

So, what does this mean for education? It means that students can bring their ideas to life in a tangible form. If they can design it, they could build it. If they need something, they can make it. It allows student to use higher-level thinking and problem solving skills in a fun and exciting way. As the makers of Leapfrog 3D printers (n.d.) put it, “Over the coming years, consumers will also be producers, artists, designers and innovators all at the same time. Kids will learn to solve problems through physical prototyping in an early stage of their development. Their mindset will change as they will learn to embrace failure as these failed prototypes allow them to improve their designs quickly.” Leapfrog 3D printers even have curriculum for students starting at age ten.

I teach students under the age of ten, so I started thinking of ways that my students could be introduced to printing in 3D. My kindergarteners wrote and illustrated a class book last year. It would have been great if we could have taken one of their drawings of our main character (a horse/unicorn) and printed it out into a figurine for our classroom. Also, every spring our school has an art show that showcases the art that students have done during the school year. I think it would be a huge hit if one of their art pieces was made into a model to be displayed next to each students’ artwork. It would be a great way to get students and parents introduced to and excited about 3D printing. Maybe I could come up with a small family project that allowed families to design something together, that is math or science related, and then we could print out their creations and share them on a parent night. One thing I know for sure is that I am excited about what the future holds in regards to 3D printing and education.


Ground3d Amsterdam. (2013, June 4). How does 3D printing work?. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from YouTube:

Hongkiat. (n.d.). 20 Amazing Creations You Can Make With 3D Printing. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from

Leapfrog 3D Printers. (n.d.). 3D printing for Education. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from Leapfrog 3D Printers:


6 thoughts on “How can 3D printing change the way we think about education?

  1. I so agree with you that I too am excited about what the future holds. I like the idea of printing a piece of art for parent night. That is a great idea. I am like you I have no idea what it really looks like besides video and pictures. I can see a lot of applications in the classroom, the future does look bright!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was at Sam’s Club today and they had 3D printers there so I got to show it to my mom. All she saw was the price ($1300), so she didn’t get as excited as I was about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, sounds like a mom and daughter!!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I like your idea of using the 3D printer to create main character of your class book, how fun! We have family nights at our school too so I also like your idea of having families create something on the 3D printer at a family night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it is a great way to introduce new technology to families and get them excited about learning. I really just am not sure about how much time would be involved.


  3. I also had very little knowledge about 3D printers before this week. I knew that they existed, but I wasn’t sure what they were really capable of doing. After researching and reading others blogs I began to realize how useful they could be in an educational setting. I love your idea of having students create a story and then use the 3D printer to make a figurine of one of the their characters. I think this would really help students get engaged with their work and enjoy it. It would be a way for them to connect on a deeper level with their story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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