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Encouraging the successful adoption of 3D printing

YSoft be3D
This three-part series on Making 3D printing in education a reality, looks at various aspects to consider with 3D printing in the classroom. In this, the second article, we look at the key factors in encouraging the successful adoption of 3D printing.

 

More and more schools, colleges and universities are investing in 3D printing. However, encouraging everyone to use 3D printing as part of their daily learning experience is a change.  

3D Printing – Simplicity is key

There is a natural fear of new technology and you may find some of your students and faculty staff reluctant to engage with 3D printing, especially if they think they need extensive training in order to use it. (it isn't!)
 
Simplicity and support are key when introducing 3D printing. A simple solution not just for your students and faculty but for your IT administrator is critical to success. An intuitive interface can easily guide users through the process of creating and printing their project. Done correctly, a student or faculty member should be able to follow a 3D printer’s quick guide without ever cracking open the operating manual.

3D Printing – Champion your champions

There will be staff and students who are interested in new technology such as 3D printing, these are your champions. They will help you drive interest and engagement by actively and enthusiastically talking about the technology with fellow students and colleagues, including supporting them when they have questions.

Remember to support your champion(s), by highlighting their efforts within your school and within the community. Many schools highlight 3D printing when they host events aimed at parents or others within the educational community.

3D Printing – Build a resource library

You want to make sure that your school is fully supported from the moment you launch 3D printing. 3D printing resources are vital, especially for beginners because they will rely on 3D design templates before they learn to design their own models. So, before launching, make sure you have a library of resources prepared to support your users. Check out Thingiverse and Google Group K12 Fablabs as examples of the many  resources available. Our eBook, see link below, offers a variety of other resources for 3D models and software tools for creating your own models.

3D Printing – Launch it

One of the most common mistakes made by any organization when launching new technology is the lack of promotion and communication. When you officially launch 3D printing use the popular communication channels in your school, college or university to promote the technology and offer informative sessions. Emails, posters, use of TV screens and tannoy announcements are all good mediums to raise awareness.

3D Printing – Show them how & celebrate success

It is vital to show all users how to use any new technology. Use your champions to help run workshops and as ongoing “go to” help for users. Divide users into small groups of between 5 to 10 people per printer and run regular workshops to help them develop their 3D printing skills. Once you are up and running, sharing ideas, showcasing your best projects and celebrating success is a great way to sustain engagement from users and ensure longevity.

3D Printing – Manage & expand

To help ensure successful adoption, monitoring and managing use of your 3D printer(s) is important. Using a print management solution will enable you to monitor and identify peak and quiet times to identify where printers need to be located and how many are needed to reduce waiting time. By effectively managing and planning for the future you can ensure that students and faculty are always able to access a 3D printer and have a positive experience.
 
For assistance on finding your perfect 3D print solution read our eBook: Guide to Introducing 3D Printing in the Classroom.

Y Soft Be3D eDee – 3D printing designed for education

At Y Soft, we understand that it is important to find a solution that enables staff and student’s to easily engage with 3D printing with minimal training and support. We have worked and continue to work with educators to develop YSoft be3D eDee, a complete 3D printing solution designed specifically for education that help schools, colleges and universities to get the most out of 3D printing.

To find out more about 3D printing watch any of our YSoft be3D eDee videos.
 
In part three of this series, we will look at how to justify investing in 3D printing and managing costs.
 
Do you have a 3D printer in your classroom? We would love to hear from you, use the comments section below to share your thoughts and any questions you might have.
 
 

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