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How to Teach 3D Printing in Distance-Learning Classrooms

By Devin Partida

zmorph-all-in-one-3d-printers-FB1vd3XT_zQ-unsplashPhoto by ZMorph All-in-One 3D Printers on Unsplash

As 3D printing technology continues to develop, it’s no surprise that more educational institutions are teaching students how to use it to their advantage.

3D printing is found in various career fields, so introducing children to it at a young age can help them identify what they’d be interested in doing as they grow older. Educators must be trained and informed about this technology to pass their knowledge on to generations that will eventually make up the workforce.

As the pandemic continues to impact all facets of our lives, some K-12 schools are adopting hybrid learning models — where students participate both in-person and online. Many educators had to learn new technologies to accommodate this change and adapt to new learning platforms.

3D printing is a growing technology with various applications that will likely become commonplace in educational institutions. One of its significant benefits is the ability to create models using remote software.

For example, if a student creates a model on their home computer, it can be sent to the school for the final printing phase. Teachers can then provide feedback in-person, through email, or on a learning platform, like Moodle or Blackboard.

You may be wondering how to teach students about 3D printing outside the classroom. Here are some alternative methods and how you can assist students with this new academic topic.

1. Use Webinars and Videos

Many online webinars are available to teach students the ins and outs of 3D printing. Using them or any video content will help students learn visually, allowing them to fine-tune their skills. There are also online learning platforms, such as Print Lab, that specifically teach students how to utilize 3D printing.

Although some students learn better in person, this is a viable option for educators looking for new ways to engage and teach them about 3D printing. Some can be live webinars, while others are on-demand and can be accessed at any time. The flexibility should help you as you look for creative ways to teach your students.

2. Share Online Forums

Online forums can also help you teach students more effectively by getting answers to various questions. Students can post photos of past projects and discuss and collaborate on new ones you assign.

Just note that students should visit these online forums with the help of a parent or guardian to protect them from any cybersecurity issues.

3. Utilize Print-From-Anywhere Machines

Many 3D printers come with the capability to print remotely. For instance, a student can create a mockup or prototype design and share it with you. If you’re teaching from the school, you can then print their creation and grade it accordingly.

Before jumping in and buying any 3D printer, be sure to research which options can handle remote printing. Spending a bit more on a high-quality machine will yield the best results for you and your students.

4. Teach by Demonstrating

If you taught during the 2020 and 2021 school years, you know how vital videoconferencing is to the education system. Whether it’s Google Meet, Zoom or any other platform, use it to your advantage.

As long as your 3D printer is accessible, you can share your screen, display your model online, and show students the process of printing virtually. Use your webcam and describe the finished product. Teaching by demonstration is a valuable alternative to being in-person.

5. Create Engaging Presentations

You’ve probably spent a fair amount of time working on presentations to deliver to your students. Regardless of the topic, it’s crucial to create engaging and unique lectures to keep them entertained and interested in the subject. 3D printing in and of itself is a complex and ever-changing topic — be sure to keep your presentations relevant and time-specific.

Teaching 3D Printing Virtually

Although it comes with its challenges, teaching 3D printing is valuable. More businesses are using 3D printing for various purposes, whether in the health care, manufacturing, or engineering industries. Educating students about this technique as early as possible will help prepare them to enter the workforce once they’ve graduated or moved on to higher education.

Learn more about 3D Printing with RobotLAB Inc 

3D Printer Dremel Lab 2

Bring STEAM to life with 3D printed objects, Spark curiosity, and engage the entire classroom with the MakerBot 

EdTech Solutions


About the Author


  • Aug 13, 2021 8:00:00 AM

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