The government has announced plans to invest £500,000 in order to help schools harness 3D printers in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. This action comes after a successful trial in which 21 schools were given financial support to buy 3D printers. The government now intends to make £500,000 available. It means that almost 60 schools can also join the programme. Education minister Michael Gove said extending the pilot was vital to help ensure as many pupils as possible could use 3D printers.
“3D printers are revolutionising manufacturing and it is vital that we start teaching the theory and practice in our schools,” he said. “Teaching schools will be able to develop and spread effective methods to do this. Combined with our introduction of a computer science curriculum and teacher training, this will help our schools give pupils valuable skills.”
Several teachers were quoted in the report explaining how the use of 3D printing technology had proved beneficial, with James Brady, the Head of Technology at the Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School, saying: “With the printer carrying out the ‘production’ of objects, more time can be spent considering the science and mathematics involved in design.
“One pupil stated that the 3D printer had heightened her interest in mathematics and improved her desire to learn; subsequently she commented that it improved her level of achievement.”
David Jermy, Head of Design Technology at Settlebeck School, pointed out this view:
“All the pupils who have been involved with the 3D printer so far have been inspired by its possibilities. The opportunity to realise a concept or idea quickly into a 3D product is an incredibly powerful teaching tool.”