Many students around the world may be receiving their final exam grades in January for the previous quarter or semester. So it is only fitting that we issue a report card on how the 3D printing industry is doing in Education!
The 3D Printing in Education - a 2016 Report Card represents highlighted findings from an international survey of how 3D printers are being used in Education. Respondents were involved in purchasing and using 3D printers in schools and were asked a broad set of questions about their use of 3D printing technology in the classroom, how the devices were managed and the challenges faced.
The biggest finding is an alarming one: 87% of educators restrict student access to 3D printers.
While educators firmly believe that 3D printing enables students to better engage with class material, motivates learning and prepares students for careers, the inability to manage access and costs associated with 3D printing causes them to restrict access. Sadly, the restriction undermines the reason for using 3D printing. By restricting access to 3D printers in education, are students denied access to new ways of learning and creating?
Restricted access was either by locking the printers in a special room, requiring special training (although 90% said students and educators have no problems using 3D printers) or by only allowing educators to print on the student’s behalf.
While Education widely had a process for managing 2D (paper) printers, 3D printer management is a mixed bag – some are managed by IT; some managed by departments, each of whom did so differently; and some felt they did not manage 3D printers at all.
Top challenges surfaced in the survey included high or difficulty in managing costs, under-utilization of the printers and difficulty in adding 3D printing into curriculum.
We see these results as an opportunity to introduce 3D print management into Education. It is clear that educators see the value of 3D printing and the survey indicates that purchases will continue. And, by introducing print management into 3D printers, the challenges they face today can be solved. It’s why we developed YSoft be3D eDee.
The infographic below shows selected highlights from the survey. Y Soft makes the full survey – listing all the questions and responses – available in a separate report upon request.