How 3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects

3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects. They give students the skills, the knowledge and the passion to pursue a technical career.

Steve
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Steve
Published: February 15, 2018

 

3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects – fact.

They can inspire students to follow careers in practical fields, develop technical skills and demonstrate how similar equipment can be used in the real world.

They’re a truly great learning tool that can be an asset in any classroom. Here, we’ll explore how 3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects and the benefits of having one in your classroom.

What is STEM?

STEM is shorthand for a range of practical subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths.

Recently, the UK curriculum has placed much higher importance on STEM subjects because students are more likely to gain employment in these areas when they’re older.

This shift is unsurprising due to a massive technical skills crisis in the UK, thanks to recent developments in technology and a lack of interest in engineering roles.

Students need to engage with these subjects while they’re young, so they can plug the gap when they’re older. It’s particularly important to get more girls into these subjects, as they tend to be very male-dominated.

Focusing on STEM subjects and making them accessible shows students that no career is off limits to them.

There are currently several STEM groups that hold discussions, presentations and school trips to engage students in these practical subjects. However, this is not the same as having practical, hands-on experience in the classroom each week. That’s where we think 3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects … do you?

4 ways 3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects

Affordable 3D printers and leasing schemes have created new opportunities for students around the UK.

It would be great to see them become a core part of the school curriculum and help encourage involvement in STEM subjects. However, it’s worth saying that 3D printers can be used for other subjects, too.

Here are four key ways 3D printers can help students get into STEM subjects:

1. Turn imagination into reality

3D printing allows students to take a concept and work it through the production and testing stages.

By using this ‘conceptualise and visualise’ technique, learning is no longer just theory. Visual and kinaesthetic learners will really engage with this hands-on method.

Students will get a good understanding of the prototype stage, as well as seeing tangible results they can be proud of. This will help them envisage a future career in the STEM fields.

2. Add a bit of ‘wow’ to your lessons

Any new piece of tech is exciting for students (and teachers).

Bringing a new 3D printer into the classroom can get students interested in the subjects it’s used for and spark their imagination for future projects.

A 3D printer adds a dose of fun and excitement to subjects that used to be a little dull. It also makes learning more memorable, which could really help with exams!

3. Gives access to new materials

A 3D printer will let you create learning materials you can’t usually get in the classroom, which will inspire students and really get them thinking about STEM subjects.

For example, you could try printing parts of an engine, or models of atoms, eyeballs and cells. These ideas will really pique your students’ interest!

4. Promote skills and attributes perfect for STEM

STEM isn’t just a collection of subjects, it’s a mindset. Allowing students to use 3D printers from an early age will help them develop this mindset and position them for a future career in STEM.

The skills and attributes that make up this mindset include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Coding and computer programming
  • Perseverance
  • Technical drawing
  • Knowledge about 3D printers – this is bound to be useful in the future!

There are huge benefits to having 3D printers in the classroom. However, one of the most important is that 3D printers can help get students into STEM subjects.

These machines will help create passionate, enthusiastic STEM students who will plug the technical skills gap in the future. They will also help teach students valuable life skills – how good is that?

Do you think your school could benefit from a 3D printer? Explore your options with one of our experts today!