unnamedIf you can dream it, a 3D printer can create it!  Today we’re honored to have John Bokla of i3DCreatives guest blogging about the awesomeness of 3D printing.  We met John when he ran workshop on 3D printing at the Deep Dive Den at this year’s Deeper Learning Conference.  We’re excited for him to share how this super-futuristic technology applies to education.
Are you curious about 3D Printing and how it will be incorporated into education?
3D printing is an emerging technology that seems to be coming rapidly out of nowhere. The applications of this technology are seemingly limitless as the materials that are being printed continues to grow and the limitations of the printers continue to be pushed forward. In an interview with Cathy Lewis from 3D Systems on L​ean Business​ she discusses the full ecosystem of 3D Printing:

If we can use this technology to make almost anything with it, the question becomes can we teach anything with it too? This creates countless opportunities to incorporate physical objects into education. Printing items from ships in history class to creative design lessons that teach physics. Finally there are easier and quicker ways to teach physical lessons than building things from popsicle sticks and glue finally!

There are three important steps in the process from turning an idea into reality. Take your idea turn it into a computer aided design file (CAD) and have that CAD file printed by a 3D Printer. This video outlines the different ways for you to progress your way through these crucial steps even with no experience.

As children continually become more accustomed to the virtual world of digital screens and emerging virtual reality this technology can help bridge the gap from virtual to the actual world. Designing in the virtual space and quickly being able to test the design and idea in the real world. Does it work? why does it work? And what could have been done better next time? A deeper learning experience through reflection.
i3D Creatives is an online platform that makes it easy for both teachers and children to get involved in the world of 3D printing. There are full curriculums that outline every command in free design softwares by Autodesk including 1​23D Design and Tinkercad.​In the first design lesson of i3D Creatives Launchpad the students design a spinning top. In this spinning top lesson the students discover the physics principles that allow the spinning top to stand upright.
Through this system there are nine chapters that outline every toolset in the program followed by ten fun and engaging design lessons for the students including spinning top, rocket ship, keychains and many more.
Learning Computer Aided Design is like learning a new language as you communicate with the computer to create an object in the virtual space.  If the best time to learn a new language is as a child we must get them started sooner rather than later. This technology is going to be an important skill in the future of our workforce just like computer skills have become so valuable today. 3D printers are just starting to hit the desktop in the same way Steve Jobs and Wozniak put the computer on our desktops only thirty five years ago.

Bridging the gap from the virtual world to the actual world is going to be a powerful experience for the next generation of students. We are progressively moving away from the Industrial Age towards the Digital Age and 3D printing will be a powerful contributor of this movement.