When you hear 3D printer, what do you think of? A manufacturing or prototyping tool? It's perhaps just a 21st-century technology you've never used before. For some, this may be all a 3D printer is, but given the right circumstances for the right person, 3D printing can be an amazing opportunity that opens the doors to innovation and creativity.
For one student in a York Region school, 3D printing allowed him to design and prototype a simple accessory, the implications of which go far beyond its physical application. In this situation, this student-designed and created something in a way he had never been able to before.
We'll let Patrick Manson, Head of Technological Education at Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School, explain his firsthand experience:
"I have a student that has cerebral palsy and mobility issues. He has very limited use of his hands and arm movements and uses a walker for support. He has always wanted to build something but a construction class or classic design class would be out of the questions for safety and accessibility reasons.
The class was given the task to create a product using the IDEO Model of design. The idea was that they could create something that was simple but improves their life or someone else's in a small way.
He decided he would like to have a water bottle holder for his walker. Something small but something he felt he was missing.
Based on his walker’s specifications he designed a holder that fits perfectly onto the structure and is within arm’s reach. He was able to add slots to his design so that using Velcro he can attach and remove the piece to his walker all on his own.
The print was successful and he was ecstatic with the completed project. He was very proud of the fact that he was able to create and build something functional all on his own."
For this student, 3D printing is more than just a tool. It's an opportunity for him to learn, explore, and create something meaningful to him. This is what putting 3D printers in the classroom is all about. For some students, a 3D printer is just a cool machine their school has, but for others, it represents an amazing opportunity they've never had the chance to experience before.
We at InkSmith are overjoyed seeing how 3D printing has made a small but meaningful impact in the life of one student. It's incredibly encouraging and we're looking forward to more stories like this one as we work with school boards to deploy even more 3D printers in schools all over Canada.
- The InkSmith Team