Week 7 Reflection

What a great week we had discovering a technology that appears to have the ability to impact almost all areas of our lives.  Education, Industry, and Medicine are just some of the fields that will be radically transformed.  Of course with any such drastic changes, there will be concerns regarding them.  What are the moral/ethical, social, and political challenges that will sweep across America as this technology booms?  Also looms the question about how rapidly the major breakthroughs will take to manifest themselves?  The more rapid the advances occur, the stronger the push back will be from traditionalists or those fearing this change.  At present, 3D printers are a very useful piece of educational equipment that every technology program should have.  3D printers additionally have a variety of positive uses in every subject area and at every grade level.

I struggled with how my blog appeared to waiver off course toward the wider implications of 3D printing.  As I read about how 3D printers could reshape the nature of industry and medicine, I felt utterly blown away by the future ramifications.  I do feel it is relevant information, especially if one is as ignorant as I was going into this topic.  3D printers seem like a great way to enhance a classroom experience at the surface level… a nice tool among many others that we have researched this semester. But if you project the future of 3D printing to be what many others do… it becomes a critical piece of technology that all students will need to use daily in their homes and offices.  It becomes urgent that students develop the critical thinking skills to be able to design, modify, and share digital blueprints.

Discussion on the blogs this week yielded rather bland exchanges on a whole. I feel that most of us are in agreement that the educational impacts of 3D printing are great.  I learned that Leapfrog already has produced many lesson plans that utilize 3D printing.  That will be a great way for teachers to get started.  There also was some discussion on the pros and cons of eating 3D printed food… What are the long-term benefits/drawbacks of that?  As this technology progresses I brace for an onslaught of debate over the moral and ethical uses of 3D printing in medicine.  Will stem cells be used for these printers?  Will insurance even cover these procedures?  Of course, with the uncertainty of our health care system today, who knows if we can even begin to answer those questions?  In industry, many jobs will be lost as 3D printers take their place.  Also, as mentioned in my blog there are many national security issues and concerns as blueprints for weapons of all sorts will be shared across the digital world.  How will our government and other governments handle and regulate this industry?

Regardless of how 3D printers will change our world in the future, they have great potential educational benefits for us today.  Visual learners and those who prefer hands-on learning will love what 3D printers can bring to their classroom.  It is an exciting time to be an educator and have the chance to be at the forefront of incorporating this technology and sharing it with our students.

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