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The why behind 3D printing

By Nicole Krueger 10/17/2014 Makerspaces

In case you haven’t already heard: We’re 3D printing ourselves a whole new world. Computer-controlled fabrication is already revolutionizing a broad swath of industries, from health care to food technology.

But will it transform your classroom? That depends, says maker education expert and Invent to Learn author Sylvia Martinez.

“We are at the peak of inflated expectations,” she said. “Your 3D printer will not change your school. Going shopping will not change education. It never has; it never will.”

On the other hand, 3D printing can give students hands-on access to primary source materials, such as dinosaur bones and historic artifacts. It can provide a means for students to engineer innovative solutions to real-life problems. It can empower them to help others in a powerfully tangible way.

“I hear this all the time from kids: the passion for recycling, the passion for reusing materials, the passion for making their own solutions to things and then giving them away to others,” Martinez said.

Below, she explores what 3D printing offers for students and how it’s being harnessed in the classroom.

Want more ideas for using technology to achieve deeper learning? Get more than 90 recorded sessions from ISTE 2014 on topics ranging from 1:1 to flipped learning.

Nicole Krueger is ISTE's inbound content strategist and lead blogger for the ISTE Connects blog. A former journalist, she has more than a decade of experience as a news reporter and professional blogger.

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