3D Printers in the Classrooms
In the past few decades, creativity has become a valuable asset. In a 2013 Time article, Jeffrey Kluger noted that although Koreans prioritize education, only 19% of people in a survey thought that education is essential to invent, compared to 23% in developed nations and 32% in emerging nations.
On the positive side, this could mean that Koreans think anyone can be an inventor but on the negative side, it could mean that they don’t link Korean education to creativity. Naturally, the Korean Ministry of Education is working hard to devise ways of fostering students’ ingenuity through school programs. There have been meaningful steps towards this goal, but there is still room for improvement.
One way to help could be to invest in 3-D printers for every school. When applied to education, it could become the perfect tool to exercise inventiveness.
One of the most obvious ways 3-D printers can be used is in the sciences. Teachers would be able to use 3-D printed models as a teaching aid to help students visualize difficult concepts, from the very small (like atoms) to the very large (like the universe). By better understanding fundamental concepts, students would be in a better position to create.
For example, some physicists have suggested that the universe may be a hologram, and that this could explain some inconsistencies of space. Teachers could use 3-D printers to demonstrate some of the complex theories related to this issue, and students could support or create theories of their own.
One way students could actively use the 3-D printer is to design their own experimental apparatuses. In my own experience with science experiments, I found that every experiment needs a different type of tool. By using 3-D printers to print out these tools relatively cheaply, students will have a wider range of experiments to design and conduct, without worrying about the cost or availability of the equipment.
Finally, outside of the school curriculum, more students will be given the opportunity to build their inventions. Today, many students have the opportunity to try this in science camps and invention programs. However, for numerous reasons, many more students don’t have access to such things. By giving all students access to tools like 3-D printers, we will be able to tap into the potential of all Korean students.
In conclusion, 3-D printers are revolutionizing countless fields such as manufacturing, medicine, and architecture, so firsthand experience will help students to find creative ways of using them in their eventual field of work. Although 3-D printers won’t turn every student into an inventor, it has the potential to improve the quality of our education when it comes to creativity. 3-D printers will help tear down the wall between what students can and cannot do with the power of their own creativity.
By Yoon Hae-ree