3D printing is a relevant topic for schools thanks to the affordability of the technology and the availability of software tools that allow for creativity. From engineering and design to product creation, the future is looking towards 3D printing as an alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.
When using 3D printers in your school there are several considerations that need to be thought through. Cost of the machines, materials and other considerations will play into your decision as to what type of 3D hardware to bring into the building. In addition, most 3D printers utilize software that can sometimes require varying levels of expertise.
One resource that I have seen utilized in an effective way was the Makerbot system. At Legacy Academy (legacyk8.org), as an example, students have been using the Makerbot printers to create products and engineer new ideas from grades K-8. Since the cost of the materials is low, teachers and administrators feel as if they can allow these students the ability to print designs and products on a more regular basis. Working in a 3D environment is a fun and engaging alternative to the traditional 2D world that we all grew up in. Students that are able to take ideas, articulate them into 3D objects and then have the ability to see those objects become reality, I believe will have an advantage in the coming job market.