Last night I gave a free presentation about 3D printing for the public at my favourite bookshop, Embiggen Books in Melbourne. I thought it was a great night with good turnout of people who were interested in 3D printing, some who were teachers looking at what I was wanting to do with Education, others from Scienceworks, interested in discussing how 3D printers could be uniquely used compared to other technology.
There were three presenters last night.
Joe Farr the general manager from Thinglab started the conversation about 3D printing by laying down the groundwork.
George Aranda (me) talked about the theoretical background I have come from with wanting to use 3D printing to work with representations that students can develop in the classroom. I also gave examples of programs using 3D printing that I have blogged about before and also some examples of classrooms in Australia already using 3D printing.
Cathal O’Connell from University of Melbourne talked about the book 3D Bioprinting: Printing Parts of Bodies he was co-author on. He gave some great insights into how 3D printing can be used by surgeons to help wounds heal faster and how they can be used in reconstructive techniques.
During the night we also had a 3D printer printing out an ear which prompted some discussion during a break in the night. Overall, a great night.
Fabricated came out last year, detailing the rise of 3D printing and the possibilities it has for the future.
Aimed at people who enjoy books on business strategy, popular science and novel technology, Fabricated will provide readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question ‘how will this technology change my life?’ Based on hundreds of hours of research and dozens of interviews with experts from a broad range of industries, Fabricated offers readers an informative, engaging and fast-paced introduction to 3D printing now and in the future.
Synopsis: Fabricated tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into schools, kitchens, hospitals, even onto the fashion catwalk. Fabricated describes our emerging world of printable products, where people design and 3D print their own creations as easily as they edit an online document.
A 3D printer transforms digital information into a physical object by carrying out instructions from an electronic design file, or ‘blueprint.’ Guided by a design file, a 3D printer lays down layer after layer of a raw material to ‘print’ out an object. That’s not the whole story, however. The magic happens when you plug a 3D printer into today’s mind-boggling digital technologies. Add to that the Internet, tiny, low cost electronic circuitry, radical advances in materials science and biotech and voila! The result is an explosion of technological and social innovation.
Fabricated takes the reader onto a rich and fulfilling journey that explores how 3D printing is poised to impact nearly every part of our lives.
I featured this book on my other blog, Science Book a Day, so check out the reviews. Here is also the trailer for the book.
I’m giving myself the challenge to write about different 3D education things people can use in the classroom.
Thingiverse.com is a place where people put their own creations online that people can then download and use. A great place to start when you get a 3D printer, if you’re not confident enough to start crafting your own designs. I suggest you try the section on Learning to find some good examples of 3D printing for education.
Perhaps one of the most unusual projects I found was this one. Soil Layer Blocks by Sean Tikkun.
These four stackable blocks represent the 5 soil layers with tactile discrimination on the face. The design of these blocks is such that a student with a visual impairment can identify a distinguishable trait relative to the layer and demonstrate knowledge by stacking them appropriately. The layers are also designed with relative size relating to each corresponding layer. If any resizing of the models is done, All four need the same ration to maintain the concept integrity and the fitting together. – Sean Tikkun
The textures would be great for visually impaired students, but also providing a tangible way of examining soil layers. While something like this could be done with layers of paper and other materials, this provides another representation which the students can assemble and discuss the functions of each layer before putting it together. They can break down the functions of each layer, how the representations are correct, what is missing and if done in conjunction with other representations (e.g. plants, layering paper, drawing) can add to their overall learning.
How would you use this in a classroom? Do you think it adds anything? I’d really like to know about your ideas. Please let me know in the comments section at the top (see the bubble)!