Ladbybridge pupils embrace 3D printing future
Phil Cotton, head of product design at Ladybridge High School, with pupils y Moin Uddin, aged 16 and Naomi Sharples, aged 15
YOUNGSTERS at Ladybridge High School really are the future.
They are using the latest technology which is set to revolutionise industry — everything from the medical to the fashion world.
3D printing is set to change the world and, while industry and politicians are beginning to understand its far-reaching effects, the technology is fast becoming second nature to the pupils of Ladybridge School.
And the pupils are being taught by the UK’s number one teacher of 3D printing.
Philip Cotton, design and technology teacher, won the 3D Printshow Educational Excellence Award.
The award is even more remarkable given that he was the only teacher among industry professionals to have been nominated for the award.
To those who have not seen it demonstrated, 3D printing may sound science-fiction — a machine produces objects of any shape, size and nature on the spot, when required.
But it is happening, and it is taking place in the design and technology suite at Ladybridge High School.
Mr Cotton said: “3D printing will change the world in the next decade. There are no limits in using the 3D printers — in areas which suffer a disaster, you could send over a 3D printer so they can make what they need, rather than sending over supplies.”
He added: “I feel proud to have the won this award, it has given exposure to what is going on in the classroom and that it is being done well.”
Mr Cotton introduced 3D printing to the pupils after researching the latest in technology — and because it was so new he self-taught himself and now has become a leader in this field.
The printers use a process whereby the printer prints layers, gradually building up the object. They can create prototypes, and also “print” small toys and replacement parts for machines and even parts of the human body.
He said: “We have to educate the young people 3D technology they need to have the skills for jobs which have not been created yet.
“Already this is becoming big in America, fashion designers, artists, and companies are using it — at home I create and make things using a 3D printer and now these young people want one.”
Young people are busy creating working lamps for their GCSE coursework with detailed explanations of their computer aided design as even examiners are said to be playing catch up.
And it is not just their creativity they are calling upon, the young people have had to up their game in science, maths and other subjects to master this new exciting technology.
Sana Ullah, aged 17, said: “This is the future of technology and I really enjoy it.”
Christian O’Neill-Tonge, aged 15, added: “There will be many jobs in this field, it is an important for young people to understand it and will help me because I have always wanted to do something connected with engineering and science.”
Hesham Chohan, aged 15, has ambitions to become a mechanical engineer.
He said: “I have asked my parents to get me a 3D printer. It is exciting because you can make something on your own.”
However, with emerging technology there is also a dark side which children are also being educated in.
Naomi Sharples, aged 15, said: “This technology is revolutionary and mindblowing, you could make an ear using it — but has to be treated responsibly because it could be used to make objects which could cause harm, and should not be seen through rose-tinted glasses.
“It is important to teach young people about the responsibility which goes with technology and we are.”
She added: “I am so proud that Mr Cotton won the award, I really enjoy the subject and I apply what I learn in maths, such as area space. I am the only girl in this class but am hoping with the development of the technology that more girls will think about a career in it, because it will be used in all industry — I have seen how it is used in the fashion industry.”
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