3D printing is still quite new in classrooms and schools. In many ways we are still working out how to integrate the design, tinkering, troubleshooting and printing process into our classrooms. New possibilities and new ideas have to be supported by new pedagogies and a different understanding of what counts as learning and how we assess success.

There are a few trends that are emerging when it comes to printers in learning spaces:

– There is no one “right way” to bring 3D printing into your school or classroom.

– Some schools are using their printers mostly with their teachers to produce things like manipulatives and artifacts (such as fossils, etc) in their buildings.

– Some schools are concentrating on the tinkering, troubleshooting, building, electronics end of things.

– Some schools have brought the design and creation process to the centre of the stage.

– The same is true for different subject areas. Printers are being used in art classes, in life sciences, math, physics and history classes.

This is one of the greatest things that is emerging as we are building up an understanding of how these printers can be used in schools and classrooms: the sky really is the limit.

And you are part of that.

This is definitely an emerging field in education. And you are on the cutting edge of it. If you’ve got ideas for projects, I’d love to hear about them so I can share them with others. If you’ve got pictures of projects and students at work, please share them. If you’ve get ideas, questions, rants and raves about assessment practices that involves the struggle to include 3D printing design, building and tinkering projects in your curriculum, I’d love to work with you on hammering those things out.

As a community of educators we are on the edge of this. We have an opportunity to define what this type of learning looks like.

Thanks for all that you do. I know that working in these ways with students isn’t easy. Keep pushing. You do make a difference.