Remember the original iMac G3 desktop computers with their sleek, translucent designs in a colorful collection? Likely you saw these computers in ads, store windows or even owned one yourself. Millennials might also recall seeing these systems introduced to classrooms during elementary school, and that’s because Apple made a massive push in penetrating the education market throughout the ‘90s by exposing millions of children to this product.

Though to a lesser scale and profile than Apple, there is a similar technology immersion taking place today with 3D printing education. Companies like Ultimaker and more are all working to bring 3D printers to classrooms across the country. This growing accessibility is due largely to open source formats that support collaboration along with more affordable, yet still professional-grade desktop options. High-quality 3D printers are no longer just massive bulky units with price tags in the tens of thousands. That’s why from primary to higher education, the benefits of getting 3D printing into the hands of students are numerous.

Below, let’s take a closer look at why.

1. Fostering Group Learning and Teamwork

While some jobs might be more isolated than others, teamwork is almost always an essential component of any position regardless of the company. The ability to effectively work and communicate with others is something educators develop early on for students through cooperative assignments—which helps explain all those group projects growing up.

New technologies, especially when introduced at early ages, can capture imagination and inspire learning together. 3D printing a given design requires going through multiple iterations before arriving at a working form, which gives students the chance to learn firsthand about identifying flaws in preceding versions to make the necessary adjustments for success. As makers, students can embark on an explorative journey filled with trial and error to stimulate creativity by turning ideas into tangible objects.

Not only does 3D printing invoke a modern-day learning experience, but it also prepares students for accomplishing more real-world business goals as a collective team.

(Next page: 3D printing for digital-savvy citizens; the fun of learning)


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