Turning teaching into making with classroom technology

Classroom technology is developing quickly. Learn how it can improve your DT lessons and teach your kids something new.

Published: December 16, 2016


Classroom technology has moved on significantly in the last few years. New machines enable pupils to learn about iterative design and watch their ideas come to life.

You’re probably used to analogue tech room technology like jigsaws, linishers and soldering equipment — and maybe even more recent additions like vacuum acrylic formers and acid baths.

But, with 3D printers, laser cutters and other technology now affordable on a school budget, the tech room is on the cusp of moving into the digital age.

Here are two of the newest gadgets and how you can integrate them into your lesson plans:

Welcoming a new generation of learning resources and classroom technology

3D printers

3D printers enable your pupils to turn digital designs into usable objects.

Versions of this tool have been around since 1986, but the 3D printing concept has ballooned in popularity over the last five years as the technology has reduced in size and cost.

67% of UK manufacturers already use 3D printers in some capacity. These machines can be used to create a massive range of intricate and mechanical objects that require no assembly, such as models, tools, bespoke components and even prosthetics.

Key benefits of 3D printers in the classroom

  • Integrate design, prototyping, manufacturing and testing processes.
  • Teach pupils how to design using 3D CAD on iPads or desktop software.
  • Prepare pupils for manufacturing jobs of the future.

Lesson plan ideas:

Cut-away earth

Introduce pupils to the geological processes that created our planet by making a cut-away model of earth.

Give students the appropriate dimensions and task different groups with designing and printing each layer. Then, get them to give a presentation on their layer as they assemble the completed model.

Commercial product

Teach pupils about commercial product design by tasking them with designing an item they would take to market.

Ask them to provide a report on why they feel the item fills a gap in the market, what makes it unique and why manufacturing using a 3D printer is the most appropriate option.

Historical artefacts

Bring history to life by recreating famous historical artefacts or scenes with your pupils.

Encourage them to pay close attention to the clothing, architecture and material items. Then, use your models to re-enact well-known historical scenes.

Laser cutters

Laser cutters are used to precisely cut and/or engrave a whole range of materials, including wood, acrylic, metal, plastic, fabric and glass.

Key benefits of laser cutters in the classroom

  • Safe, automated production process controlled by PC.
  • Create more complex items in shorter timeframes.
  • Cost-effective usage compared to multiple pieces of industrial machinery.

Lesson plan ideas:

Bridge building

Teach your pupils about design, geometry and assembly by building a model bridge.

Separate your class into groups and task each with designing and building a bridge to span a set void. Create an element of competition by testing which can handle the heaviest load.


Introduce your pupils to advanced design, aerodynamics and the physics of space travel.

Get pupils to research rocket designs and pick one to replicate. Team up with the science department to create a safe fuel that will let students test their work.

All the ingredients are now in place for you to give your pupils skills that will last a lifetime through using the latest classroom technology. Why wait any longer?

Call on Utility Rentals to help turn your lessons from theory into practice with cost-effective rental packages for the latest classroom technology.