Ford S, Tim M. Invited Review Article: Where and How 3D Printing Is Used in Teaching and Education. Additive Manufacturing 2018;25:131–150


The emergence of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies is introducing industrial skills deficits and opportunities for new teaching practices in a range of subjects and educational settings. In response, research investigating these practices is emerging across a wide range of education disciplines, but often without reference to studies in other disciplines. Responding to this problem, this article synthesizes these dispersed bodies of research to provide a state-of-the-art literature review of where and how 3D printing is being used in the education system. Through investigating the application of 3D printing in schools, universities, libraries and special education settings, six use categories are identified and described: (1) to teach students about 3D printing; (2) to teach educators about 3D printing; (3) as a support technology during teaching; (4) to produce artefacts that aid learning; (5) to create assistive technologies; and (6) to support outreach activities. Although evidence can be found of 3D printing-based teaching practices in each of these six categories, implementation remains immature, and recommendations are made for future research and education policy.