This year’s report listed several examples where 3D printing is finally gaining traction in higher education.

A team at Harvard University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently printed lithium-ion batteries that can provide power to tiny devices like medical implants. Each battery is the size of a grain of sand.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are printing cages to hold bacteria, and scientists at the University of Liverpool are in the process of creating 3D-printable synthetic skin.

Libraries at North Carolina State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Victoria all have spaces devoted to 3D printers and scanners for student use.

“As 3D printing gains traction in higher education, universities are beginning to create dedicated spaces to nurture creativity and stimulate intellectual inquiry around this emerging technology,” the authors wrote.

This year’s predictions were based on the views of a panel composed of 53 technology experts from 13 countries.

Other trends the panel chose to highlight included the growing ubiquity of social media; an integration of online, hybrid and collaborative learning; a rise of data-driven learning, and assessment; an evolution in online learning; and a more agile approach to changing technology.

“Institutional leaders are increasingly seeing their students as creators, rather than consumers,” the report said.

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.

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