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  • Adoption and Impact of 3D Printing in Schools Research Report 2023 (pdf-file)

Adoption & Impact of 3D Printing in Schools Research

Although there are now lots of examples of good practice and anecdotal evidence of the impact that 3D technology is having, until now there has been no empirical research data to assess the adoption and evidence the impact of 3D printing technologies in schools. CREATE Education aimed to change this with this by running an annual UK wide Adoption and Impact of 3D Printing in Schools research project based largely around the CREATE Education Primary and Secondary 3D Excellence Frameworks.

By taking part in the research schools would benefit by:

  1. Understanding their strengths and areas for development in the adoption of 3D technologies.
  2. Having a framework to assist with Departmental and School Development Planning.
  3. Being able to compare their school’s adoption and impact with other schools overall and in each development area.
  4. Having the opportunity to participate in the study annually so that you can track your adoption and impact year on year.

The first round of the research took place during the 2022/23 academic year, with 139 schools participating in the research. This report provides a summary of the findings.

Key Findings

  1. There is a significant disparity between the adoption of 3D printing in the independent and the state sectors across both the Primary and Secondary phases. Independent schools have been using the technology longer and have access to significantly more 3D printers and (other technologies).
  2. In Secondary schools there is a huge gap between the schools that have successfully adopted 3D printing technology and those that haven’t yet done so.
  3. Primary schools are starting to adopt the technology but are much further behind the secondary schools.

Download the report below to see the full findings.

Adoption and Impact of 3D Printing in Schools Research Report 2023 cover image

Barriers to Adopting 3D Printing Technologies in Schools

88% of Secondary and 95% of Primary schools have experienced barriers to using 3D printing technologies in schools with 92% of Secondary and 82.5% of Primary schools experiencing multiple barriers to effectively adopting the technology.

The main barriers experienced are lack of budget to invest in the technology and staff knowledge and technical expertise. Lack of staff training and dedicated curriculum time were also significant barriers to adoption.

Other barriers raised include IT issues, lack of access to computers for students to create their 3D models and the time it takes to 3D print models (mostly cited by schools that only have access to one 3D printer).

School Assessments

Using the CREATE Education 3D Excellence Framework, schools assessed and scored their adoption of 3D technologies in a number of areas – including around staff training and development, curriculum implementation and application of the technology and key competencies.

Based on the average scores for each school:

  • 11% of Secondary schools and 70% of Primary schools scored themselves as “not yet emerging” in their adoption of 3D printing.
  • 58.5% of Secondary schools and 27.5% of Primary schools scored themselves as “emerging” in their adoption of 3D printing.
  • 29.5% of Secondary schools and 2.5% of Primary schools scored themselves as “developing” in their adoption of 3D printing.
  • 1% of Secondary schools and 0% of Primary schools scored themselves as “confident” in their adoption of 3D printing.

Download the report below to see the complete research.

In The Classroom

Take part and see your school compares with others!

The research study is now open for the 2023/24 Academic Year.

When you complete the online survey, you will receive an email containing all your school responses and a calculation of your school scores. You can then compare your school data with the average data from the schools who completed this research survey. Use this data to inform your school and departmental development plans.

Learn more, download the free Primary and Secondary 3D Excellence Frameworks and take the online survey.