In order to really live a fulfilling life I believe you have to create, not just consume. In a world that has become great at selling us things, 3D printing is starting to give us the ability to create without limitations. Put this technology in the hands of people, and there is no limit to what they will create to make lives better.
In this video, Project Daniel headed up by Richard Van, makes a difference using 3D printing. This is an amazing time we live in. Technology has made it possible for one person to make a difference by creating something that just wasn't a possibility in any other time throughout history.
So why is it important to teach 3D printing skills? I believe it is essential to expose students to working in three dimensional space because that is the world they are going to grow up in. They need to have practice designing and working with objects beyond coloring or drawing ideas on paper. There is a better than good chance that students in school today will not have limitations on their ability to create. By giving them real challenges, and the tools to develop skills, you will be surprised by what this next generation will do for the betterment of society.
In early grades they should use apps that work with 3D objects. Apps like 123D Creature, allow students to make 3D models almost like working with clay. Later on Google Sketch up, Blender, and apple like AutoDesk 360 Mobile, can give students the opportunity to build just about anything they can think of.
By exposing students to this technology, they will build skills that will enable them to be innovators in this next era, where 3D printing will become just another part of our lives.