In Dr. Thornburg’s article Current Trends in Educational Technology (Thornburg, 2013), he pointed out a list of various emerging technologies that displayed the growth in which we have experienced regarding the overview of technology and it’s affect on education. From power consumption to the new empowered use of mobile devices in education, technology is continuing to place a stamp on 21st century education and how we perceive the classroom. One item I would like to add to the list is an emerging technology that continues to grow with leaps and bounds but causes a pause in it’s validity within education. This technology is 3D printing. 3D printings’ grand appearance was in the late 1980’s and has evolved and steadily made it’s validation more profound at a slow and steady pace. The cost for a 3D printer in the beginning ranged from $175,000.00 to $250,000.00. Now you can buy one as cheap as $1,500 or less (Wellington, 2013).
As technology continues to evolve, cost and efficiency are two areas that are achieved as emerging technology develops through evolution within many generations of it’s inception. Due to the new curriculums that are being implemented in our schools based on “S.T.E.M. (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), focus to design more real-world solutions for students generates a challenge in curriculum and designs a more learner-centered format to engage not only the students, but also prescribe more professional development amongst teachers, administrators, and school boards who adopt new lessons that engage and support new technology within their curriculum (Stohlmann, M., Moore, T.J., Roehrig, G.H., 2013).
3D printers are now finding a place in these schools which allows students to see their concepts in actual form. With 3D printers, students now are receiving optimal learning that adds to a more successful experiential learning environment. Thanks to the production of affordable 3D printers, some schools can now afford to budget for purchase and help integrate their students to more real-world curriculums and change their classrooms to more blended optimal learning.
Thornburg, D., (2013). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.
Stohlmann, M., Moore, T.J., Roehrig, G.H., (2012). Consideration for Teaching Integrated S.T.E.M. Education. Journal of Precollege Engineering Education Research (J-PEER). Vol. 2, 1.