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3D printing in education: a framework for learning with 3D artefacts

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date2015
Host publication14th Conference on rapid design, prototyping and manufacturing proceedings
EditorsAllan E. W. Rennie, Richard J. Bibb
Number of pages11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


3D printing has come a long way since its advent in the 1980s. Various applications and benefits of this technology and artefacts have been discussed and demonstrated, especially in relation to engineering, design, museum collections and medicine. In terms of education, there is much talk about the potential of 3D printing, primarily with regard to learners’ motivation around the tangible nature of the learning experience. However, it is unclear and undertheorized what 3D printed objects as pedagogical artefacts bring into the educational arena. This issue is especially pertinent to the role of 3D artefact meanings and more holistic interdisciplinary explorations of concepts and phenomena with such artefacts, to complement the dominant focus on STEM subjects. This paper suggests a framework for critical artefact pedagogy, building on Peirce’s triadic meaning making model and Vygotskian approach to learning concepts. The framework can support future explorations of the pedagogical value of 3D printed artefacts across subjects in general, and in relation to museum collections and cultural heritage in particular.