A new technology tool for 21st Century classrooms in the not-too-distant future are 3D printers (called fabbers). Michael Simpkins from Technology and Learning, described the new design printers being developed by researchers: “Instead of using ink or toner, the printer uses a variety of gooey substances that harden when exposed to air.” The printer then builds a 3-dimensional object as you watch, based on input substances such as clay and food (such as peanut butter, chocolate and cheese!) Although fabbers are probably more suited for industrial design objects, they are being considered a suitable addition to any K-12 classroom for a variety of learning experiences. They are proposed to be safe and inexpensive.
The fabber is transparent therefore it is possible to see all the workings. Hod Simpson (one of the creative minds behind the fabber) sees it as a great fun tool for children to see technology in a new realm – by being able to see what is going on before their eyes. Learning experiences include robotics, engineering and manufacturing.