Even though 3D printers have been around for almost 30 years, the recent rise of low-cost printers has led some to proclaim the onset of a new industrial revolution. Schools and libraries all over the world are bringing these powerful tools to students in classrooms and dedicated “makerspaces” where they are accompanied by other fabrication tools. For example, China is putting 3D printers in each of its 400,000 elementary schools. In the U.S., are adding 3D printers into schools at a good rate, particularly into CAD programs, but also into traditional art and social studies classrooms and even business programs.
If 3D printing is starting a new industrial revolution, it is well on its way to revolutionizing teaching and learning as well. The result of bringing these tools into classrooms is a rekindling of the powerful pedagogy of hands-on learning. 3D printing leverages hands-on learning to deepen our educational approach to traditional educational subjects. With 3D printers, teachers can literally add another dimension to their classroom practice; can use 3D printed objects to illustrate complex concepts, make abstract and inaccessible objects tangible, improve students’ spatial abilities and create a richer, more engaging learning environment.
The overarching goal of the 3DP-VET course is to design a competitive training programme on 3D printing use for teachers and trainers in VET. With this in mind, the 3DP-VET course (3D Printing in Vocational Education and Training) seeks to introduce VET teachers/ educators to the use of 3D Printers in Vocational Education and Training in Europe.
The 3DP-VET curriculum is a detailed plan of the course with a clear definition of learning outcomes and sequence of activities designed to help the participants attain them. The methodology of working out the programme is based on the following principles:
- The curriculum addresses concrete identified needs of VET teachers,
- The programme of learning covers the aspects of 3D Printing which can be easily applied in educational practice,
- The curriculum is open to further input/modifications in the course of the training materials development and its pilot implementation in the 3DP – VET course for VET teachers.
Against this backdrop, the course is divided into six distinct Modules, which could also be studied independently. The duration of study of each Module is approximately 4 - 6 hours.