After a successful pilot year of its 3D printer loan scheme, where global engineering technologies company, Renishaw, loaned 30 local schools a 3D printer for three months, the company has continued the project for a second year.
In total, 21 primary schools and nine secondary schools in South Wales were loaned a 3D printer in the last academic year, covering four local authorities around the Renishaw Miskin site in South Wales. Renishaw provides training for teachers on how to use the 3D printer along with a booklet that includes guidance on how to use the device for more projects in the classroom.
Schools are able to use their printers for the three-month period to manufacture anything from simple name badges for classroom trays, to more complex pieces for their Egypt themed project. The printers can be used in a range of classes, including design and technology, all science subjects as well as art and design, to benefit the children’s learning.
“We’ve had 100 per cent fantastic feedback from all of the schools who took part last year, with many asking to loan a printer again,” explained Simon Biggs, Education Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “3D printing is a fantastic tool for learning as teachers can easily illustrate a learning point with a 3D model, or children can design and manufacture their own items to develop their problem solving and practical skills.”
“Without the loan scheme, many of the schools taking part would not be able to access this type of equipment and therefore couldn’t use it in day-to-day teaching,” added Biggs. “Renewing this scheme has enabled more young people to benefit from having a 3D printer in their classroom and it may inspire them to consider a science, technology, engineering or maths related career.”
One teacher, whose school loaned a 3D printer, commented, “The children absolutely loved using the printers. It has sparked an interest in some of the children to work with 3D printers in the future. One child’s parent has even bought him a 3D printer!”
Another commented, “The children have developed their design skills by using Tinkercad and have realised the possibilities available to them through technology. The children were able to make special Mother’s Day gifts, which had a positive impact on them and they were extremely proud of what they were creating.”
The 3D printer loan scheme forms a small part of Renishaw’s extensive education outreach programme, which it runs across the Bristol, Gloucestershire and South Wales regions. For further information on Renishaw’s education outreach programme, visit www.renishaw.com/educationoutreach.