Catawba College to Use 3D Printing to Enhance Student Learning

The library has developed a detailed guide that includes step-by-step instructions so that students can see their ideas become a reality.

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Catawba College to Use 3D Printing to Enhance Student Learning
Biochemistry Students use 3d printer to make 3D Models of Proteins

More schools are taking steps to include 3D printing technologies into their classrooms the latest being Catawba College. Catawba College is a private, coeducational college in Salisbury, North Carolina, United States with about 1,300 students.

Led by Dr. Carmony Hartwig and Amanda Bosch, the school held a faculty symposium Friday afternoon to show how 3D printing can be used in the classroom.

Just like the MakerBot SKETCH Classroom program that focuses on integrating 3D printing into the classroom to enhance the teaching and learning process, the presentation showed how the process of adding the benefits of using 3D printing technology in the classroom worked.

The process demonstrates a timeline from starting with just an idea to having it printed and in hand.

The library has developed a detailed guide that includes step-by-step instructions so that students can see their ideas become a reality.

The institution hopes that 3D printing technology in the classroom will allow students to have a greater depth of study, providing a better representation of what it is that they are studying besides just a picture in a textbook.

Students in Dr. Hartwig’s class will be using the 3D printer to learn more about proteins and molecules, how they look, and how they function. Having to create and build the protein will teach students about their composition.

They will be selecting a protein, printing it out, and designing an interactive infographic to use in a presentation. The infographic will include a scannable piece by the Blippar app (an Augmented Reality app) that ads another layer to the information someone can obtain from the infographic.

This will help students more easily grasp concepts in protein structure, molecular bonding, and other associated concepts since they can print out these structures and physically see and feel the placement of atoms in these structures.

3D printing technology positions students as creators. Instead of buying or consuming the creations of someone else. This technology helps them become inventors who can identify needs and create solutions

3D printing technology is still new and is not readily available to your average consumer. It has a ‘wow factor’ that can engage students who would otherwise have nothing to do with their learning.

Eleven faculty attended the symposium and discussed how this could be used in other classes. Some of their ideas included math to look at 3D geometry, psychology to analyze neurotransmitters, and health science to make bones, joints, or organs.

Everything can be hands-on using 3D printing. Learning about ancient societies? Design and print a model of a mummy or a pyramid. Learning about landforms? Design and print a peninsula or a mountain range. Learning about natural disasters? Design and print tools to protect you from problems arising from natural disasters. The list goes on and on.

The symposium took place in Catawba’s new Greg and Missie Alcorn Digital Learning Lab. The Digital Learning Lab is a new addition to the library that brings in a variety of technology for students and faculty to use including 3D printing devices or printers, robots, virtual reality, augmented reality, laser engraver, digital art pads, and a video recording and editing studio.

According to their website, the school is ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South and offers 70 academic majors, in-depth career preparation