EDU621 A2: General Topic
##A2a. What is the general topic area and research problem (For example: “A problem area is standardized testing in schools, and how it may take up too much educational time and leave little room for other important learning.”) (Approx. 1 paragraph)
A problem area is the sustainable use of digital fabrication tools within schools, primarily 3D printers. Materials are easily wasted as students prototype throughout projects. Currently there is a higher level emphasis on sustainable design systems within curriculum and NGSS standards exist, but there is no focus on sustainable use of material, material life cycle, and documentation of material usage within lessons or projects.
##A2b. Justification for the Research Problem: What is your evidence that this is indeed (or may be) a problem area?
3D Printing is a truly iterative process that requires students to test and observe how printed parts differ in size from digital design physical reproduction. Until students are given a focus within a structured project that follows a framework such as the engineering design process they will not think about sustainability (Lin et al, 2018). If focus is placed on sustainability within real-life project briefs students will spend more time critically thinking about the topic. This will allow for students to better associate with the content and utilize it longer term.
Lots of sustainability education has been relying heavily on the “what” instead of the “how”(Dupuis & Ball, 2013). Going forward instead of sustainability education relying on lecture-test banking methods or sage on a stage techniques by teachers institutions must push student learning with scholarship and practice in tandem (Dupuis & Ball, 2013). Collaborative project based learning work within the classroom or laboratory is needed to influence reflective and open practice among students.
Plastics are a huge source of pollution due to waste and energy usage. Acknowledging waste and capturing it to be recycled in a local and purposeful way cuts costs and energy usage by 80% in some cases (Kreiger et al, 2014).
##A2c.Why is this an important area to study and what might the benefits be? Justify the value of studying the topic and how learning more will improve some aspect of education.
It has been found that pushing students to take on projects where they uncover their own knowledge and definitions of sustainability is critical to student learning and knowledge retention with regards to sustainability (Dupuis & Ball, 2013). Many researchers (Baechler et al, 2013) have found that keeping, sorting, and recycling filament can be 40% more economical than buying new filament. This allows for institutions to acknowledge and work around the sometimes prohibitive cost of 3D printer material(Irwin et al, 2019). Realistically the goal for this sort of work is to give students the competencies to assess material usage in a world that will have increasingly complex sustainability challenges(Dupuis & Ball, 2013).
- Lin, K., Hsiao, H., Chang, Y., Chien, Y., Wu, Y. (2018). The Effectiveness of Using 3D Printing Technology in STEM Project-Based Learning Activities. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 14(12), em1633. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejmste/97189
- DUPUIS, E.M. & BALL, T. (2013). HOW NOT WHAT: TEACHING SUSTAINABILITY AS PROCESS Baechler, Christian & DeVuono, Matthew & Pearce, Joshua. (2013). Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock. Rapid Prototyping Journal. 19. 118-125. 10.1108/13552541311302978.
- M.A. Kreiger, M.L. Mulder, A.G. Glover, J. M. Pearce, Life Cycle Analysis of Distributed Recycling of Post-consumer High Density Polyethylene for 3-D Printing Filament, Journal of Cleaner Production, (in press)
- John Irwin, E. Douglas, P.E. Oppliger, Joshua Pearce, Gerald Anzalone. Evaluation of RepRap 3D Printer Workshops in K-12 STEM. 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Jun 2015, Seattle, United States. ffhal-02119552f