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3D Printing for Education

3D Printing for Education

3D printing in schools provides the space for ideas to develop and makes education more fun. When students are more engaged, their motivation for learning increases, the quality of teaching improves and results are boosted. Y Soft offers safe, secure access to 3D printers enabling schools to easily manage their 3D printing environment.

Benefits of 3D printing for education

3D Printing in Education - International Survey

In 2016, Dimensional Research carried out an international survey of over 300 educational institutions regarding the adoption of 3D printing.

Of those surveyed, 99% have at least one printer however direct student access and further expansion continues to be restricted due to three key challenges:

  1. Security & Access: Ensuring safe and secure access to 3D printers.

  2. Cost Management: Managing ongoing costs and justifying the Return on Investment (ROI).

  3. Incorporating into Curriculum: Incorporating 3D printing projects into classroom curriculum.

Y Soft overcomes these challenges with its unique YSoft be3D eDee print management solution.
“We hear from schools that they buy 3D printers, but often lock them up so students and users cannot access them because there is no way to manage access and costs associated with their use. It defeats the purpose of the 3D printer in education which is meant to motivate student learning. In the end, the printer goes unused.” 

Tim Greene, IDC Research Director

3D Printing - Changing a Student’s Perspective

Today’s student excels in a multimodal framework and 3D printing supports this approach to learning. It keeps students engaged, holding their interest because the teacher can actively involve the class using 3D visual aids and experimentation. This can help students grasp complex topics. For example, learning about the concepts behind wind turbines which involves physics and math.

With a physical 3D printed wind turbine, the student can study the construction, test its ability to generate wind energy and adjust accordingly. By being involved at every step from design through to construction, the physics and math elements come alive. Using a 3D printer enhances the learning experience, helping students to absorb and retain the lesson.


Download case study - 3D printing in technical school

3D printing can also play an important part in a student’s career choice. Students experience the sense of achievement and fun that a career in science or engineering can offer. It opens up new opportunities in areas that students may previously have considered as boring or beyond their capability. They are empowered to choose how they want to make a difference in the world.

3D Printing - Turning Classroom Subjects into Careers

When it comes to 3D printing in education, STEM subjects are particularly useful. Complex concepts and testing of theories are a natural fit for exploration using 3D printing. Science, technology, engineering and math subjects enhanced through 3D printing in their classroom, prepare young students for interesting and relevant careers. However, 3D printing is not just for STEM subjects. Educators find 3D printing useful for other subjects as well.

The use of 3D printing in education can be much broader than STEM subjects. Today, primary schools are introducing 3D printing as a learning tool in the classroom. 3D printing also plays a very important role in technical or design oriented schools and are very often used in university-level education, including medicine, engineering, design, architecture, art and construction.

3D Printing - Keeping Students Active and Motivated

Engaged students are highly motivating for teachers and creates a positive learning experience for all. By providing a multimodal learning experience,  both student and educator become active participants in the class. Educators can easily incorporate 3D projects for in-class, out-out-of-class or graduation projects.

3D Printing Education Survey Infographic

An independent, international survey of educators using 3D printers provides useful insight for educators and educational institutions looking to bring 3D printing to the classroom. The survey also suggests that while educators find 3D printing a motivational tool, 3D printers also have unique challenges that can be addressed with 3D print management.

Benefits of 3D Print Management

With 3D print management, it’s easy to track and monitor a school’s entire fleet of paper and 3D printers. Similar to paper (2D) printers, 3D printers can be securely placed on the network and accessible to all students who need direct access for their different classes or for their own individual study projects.

Y Soft’s 3D print management also includes an accounting system and a comprehensive set of customizable reports. The accounting and reporting features allow schools to track, allocate and, if using a pay-to-print system, recover costs associated with 3D printer use and materials.  And, since the 3D print management system can be used to track and monitor 2D printers, the investment is further enhanced.

YSoft be3D 3D Printer for Education
YSoft be3D eDee
3D print management solutions designed specifically for Education.

Unique Challenges of 3D Printing in Education

Unique challenges require innovative solutions. It is why we developed YSoft be3D eDee. Educators and their IT colleagues should consider these challenges when developing a 3D printing program for the classroom.

Today, 3D printers are often locked up, accessible only to teaching and administrative staff. When this happens, the hands-on learning and motivation benefits for students are lost. With YSoft be3D eDee, access is managed through the student’s ID badge or login credentials. Students benefit from being able to access 3D printers outside of scheduled class time and can spend time to experiment and learn.

With most 3D printers, there is no way to prevent anyone from pausing or cancelling a 3D print job. Further, there is no way to prevent someone from taking a 3D object that does not belong to them.

With YSoft be3D eDee, the printer’s doors lock once the student has confirmed the print job for printing. Only the print job owner can pause, stop, cancel or open the printer doors using their credentials. The YSoft be3D eDee system will also send an email to the print job owner when the 3D object is completed. The solution also has a webcam for remote monitoring on the print progress.

Another reason educators often lock 3D printers away from students is that the costs of 3D printing are difficult to manage. The YSoft be3D eDee print management solution solves this concern in several ways.

With the reporting system and project codes assigned to students, the school has accurate information on how many print jobs are printed and to which departments these costs should be allocated.

If a student or teacher pay-to-print system is used, YSoft be3D eDee can support individual accounts where costs for the print jobs can be deducted from a pre-paid account. Before each print job begins, YSoft be3D eDee gives an estimate of the print time and material costs for the job, the account balance is checked for the required amount and the print job owner confirms the amount before the job proceeds to print.

As educators struggle to manage costs they also struggle to justify the return on investment (ROI) on having a 3D printer, which can inhibit the expansion of  3D printers throughout the school or campus.

With YSoft be3D eDee’s reporting and accounting features, schools can analyze their 3D print activity. They can assure that costs are accounted for and determine the ROI for a 3D printer or fleet of 3D printers. With this fact-based data, educators and IT can work together to build a recommendation for broadening 3D print use in their school.

With an intuitive interface, YSoft be3D eDee is very easy to use. It’s designed with the classroom in mind with safety and security features. There are no special technical skills or previous knowledge about 3D printing required. As the independent 3D printing survey shows, 3D printing can be successfully used by students and teachers in every school.