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Laser Lines brings 3D printing to classrooms

Jane Gibbons looks at how the future of 3D printing is in schools.

Once confined to the worlds of industry and academia, 3D printing is finding itself increasingly at home in a rather different environment: the school classroom.

More and more secondary schools in the UK are recognising the importance of rapid prototyping technology and the major role it’s playing in the manufacturing sector in particular.

Hands-on experience

This is definitely the case at Merchant Taylors’ School in Middlesex where Laser Lines was delighted to install a whole suite of Makerbot 3D printers alongside an Objet30 Prime, enabling the pupils to experience additive manufacturing on a regular basis.

The school is fortunate to have two very tech-savvy members of staff – Mike Stephenson and Haydn Hutchings.  Both are responsible for spearheading the school’s annual Design and Technology Week, and both are passionate about the role 3D printing has to play in schools.

We were invited along to talk to the pupils during 2015’s Design and Technology Week, alongside speakers from other design technology related industries. It was great to see just how interested the next generation is in our industry and the technology we work with on a daily basis (and therefore often take for granted).

Industry responsibility

Not all educational establishments are on board. There are still the same barriers in place that hamper any technological advances in schools, such as access, funding, teacher awareness and confidence.

However, forward-thinking educators are establishing comprehensive 3D printing facilities within schools to ensure their pupils hit the ground running when it comes to cutting-edge technology in further education and in the workplace.

The younger a person is, the easier it usually is to introduce new ideas and concepts. It’s vital that rapid prototyping technology becomes the norm for schools if the technology is to continue to develop. The school pupils of today are the business leaders of tomorrow and it will be down to them to ensure the ongoing success of the 3D printing revolution.

With inspiring teachers such as Mike and Haydn helping drive the technology in schools, it’s up to the industry as a whole to make sure schools have access to both the right technology and the relevant expertise.

3D printing is revolutionising manufacturing and, with the availability of ‘plug-and-play’ machines, which are both reliable and robust, and a generation of technologically switched-on teachers at the helm, there’s no reason why 3D printing shouldn’t be revolutionising education as well.

If you would like to find out how a 3D printer can help the pupils in your school, call Jane or the Laser Lines team on 01295 672588 or email us at 3dworld@laserlines.co.uk

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