The technology of 3D printing is slowly but surely finding its place in the education system of each type of school. Our grammar school also started to experiment with the use of 3D print in the education. A big step forward was the start of our cooperation with the YSoft company
Author: Pavel Vachalec
At the grammar school in Polička, we also try to use a polytechnic approach to education. Polytechnical education is defined as education providing knowledge on the scientific principles and production industries, knowledge of technical and other fields and technical skills in general. Not only it contributes to the improvement of the knowledge, but above all to the formation of work skills and habits that are used in everyday life and working life later. It is tied to technical thinking as an application of knowledge, skills, and experience divided into practical, visual, intuitive and conceptual thinking. The aim of polytechnical education is to develop knowledge of the technical environment and help to create and fix good working practices and habits, to develop cooperation, mutual communication, and other qualities and to support the desire to create and complete the work. Polytechnic education is supposed not only to strengthen interest in technical study courses but also in science and environmental study courses.
One part of polytechnical education is the use of 3D printing technology. There are many opportunities to use 3D printing in the school environment. To name just one, there is a strong motivation of students in the field of technical education (designing, modeling, data preparation, modification of printouts …. ) and linking informatics to other subjects, even to those like music and art education (sculptures, architecture, musical instruments, …). The exceptional added value of 3D printing is the low-cost creation of teaching aids. It is easy to design teaching aids to exactly fit your needs, and due to the low cost of 3D printing, you can also print in large quantities. So during the lecture, there is not only one person demonstrating with the teaching aid, but everyone in the class has one for himself. With this, for example, discovering natural patterns can become more interesting for students. The teaching aids they now use are not commercially available at all. Without the ability to print 3D teaching aids directly, they would never get them.
Thanks to the cooperation with YSoft, we got two Be3D eDee printers for free for two years. These printers are designed specifically for the school environment, they have a couple of unique features, that are interesting for school and also they helped to bring 3D printing to „school life”. The essence is connecting 3D to printers to a network and cooperation with a server platform SafeQ. Users, students, and teachers use enter username and password to log to the printer or a special „lunch” chip. For example, a possibility to reprint favorite model is a great feature for teachers. Automatic e-mail notification to the user about the completed printing job is in place. User-friendly SafeQ printer control is also very important. Thank to this, the school can keep track of individual print jobs, user activities and material usage, the school has a complete overview of the costs related to running 3D printers.
Technologies are moving forward with a speed of light. If we want to prepare our students for a world they would live in, we can not ignore modern technologies. Contrary, we must show students a way to use the new technologies meaningfully. It is important to encourage students to understand the basic principles of modern technologies and the consequential limitations. And that is where polytechnic education, including above mentioned 3D printing, has its ïndispensible place. It is very likely that as it is common for teachers to work on computers, it will become necessary for them to have appropriate knowledge and skills with 3D printing in a short time.