As part of the Digital Classroom Resource book we recently published, we identified ten digital trends that were going to have an impact on the futures of learners. These trends were a starting point for teacher-led classroom discussions, or could be used to set homework activities or projects.
In 1986, an American inventor named Charles Hull successfully created the world’s first 3D printer in his quest for rapid prototyping. Little did he know that, many years later, 3D printing will have become so common and accessible, impacting society on a scale never before imagined.
We are printing gadgets and toys, replacement parts for our kitchen accessories, specialised parts for our vehicles, building bricks for houses, and biological components to aid in human and animal organ repairs and replacements. We are even printing food! Foodini is a machine that will print your food in any style and shape you want. Science and technology in the medical field are making great strides in the development of printing artificial organs such as liver, hearts, skin tissue and more. Houses are being printed, brick by brick. 3D printing allows us to create physical artefacts from digital files and opens up a whole new world of design realisation and tangible engineering solutions. 3D printers are becoming more affordable, faster and easier to use.
Discussion topics: What is the future of 3D printing for the average household? Will every house have their own printer and print whatever they need? What things will we print? Where will the materials come from that we use to print? What will be the impact on jobs and job creation – will some jobs be replaced and new ones created?