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The PrintLab Certification Course is the ultimate training journey for teachers getting started with 3D printing and a great chance for intermediate/advanced users to learn new tips. The course brings together extracts from various PrintLab resources and pieces them together to create a step-by-step professional development journey. The aim of the course is to enable teachers to become proficient and confident in teaching 3D printing curriculum, whilst ensuring they have the necessary 3D design and 3D printing skills.

1 | An Introduction to 3D Printing

The course begins by introducing you to 10 key fundamentals of 3D printing. The aim is to provide a complete overview of 3D printing technologies and the opportunities and limitations that come with them. The course platform includes a 3D viewer that allows you to digitally interact with 3D models to gain an understanding of various aspects of the 3D printing process and industry.

2 | Benefits of 3D Printing in Education

This section of the course is about understanding why 3D printing in education is important and the benefits that come with it. Through a series of visual infographics, you will analyse the results of a survey that asked a range of educators and experts what they thought was the biggest benefit of 3D printing in education. In addition to the results, you will hear explanations and opinions from each participant.

3 | Introduction to Tinkercad Software

The 3D printing process all begins with creating a 3D model and Tinkercad software is a fantastic, free browser tool to do just that! In this section of the course, you will learn how Tinkercad can be used in the cross-curricular classroom before following tutorials to set up a Tinkercad teacher account. This will allow you to moderate and manage a whole classroom of students.

4 | 3D Modelling Basics

With your Tinkercad teacher account set up, you will move on to learn the basics of 3D modelling. Throughout the section, you will be provided with information, tutorials and challenges based on various design tools including navigating the model workspace, placing objects, making holes, mirroring and combining shapes.

5 | Designing for 3D Printing

By showing a series of videos of good and bad practice, you will learn how to design specifically for 3D printing. The video content goes over 10 essential design tips to create models that are suited for the 3D printing process. The tips will help you to advise students and to look out for any 'unprintable' models that are submitted to you.

6 | Slicing for 3D Printing

In this section, you will learn about 10 essential slicer settings to help get the most out of your 3D printer. From print speed and temperature to outer layer thickness and orientation, you'll be sure to learn some handy tips to achieve good quality prints.

7 | The PrintLab Curriculum Framework

There are many ways 3D printing can be incorporated into the classroom. The process and structure of 3D printing lessons can vary depending on the task at hand, but in this section, we'll be showing you an example framework that is used in many of the lessons available on PrintLab Classroom.

8 | Classroom Management

When delivering 3D printing lessons, you may come across certain challenges. For example, you may not have enough time or printers to create every students model or you have concerns about how to budget for materials. This section of the course goes over a range of tips that can make the whole experience more efficient and manageable.

Course Assessments

Using the skills and knowledge gained throughout the course, you will then participate in the 3 course assessments to achieve your certification. These include a multiple choice exam, a challenge to design a 3D object for your classroom and an activity to design your own lesson structure.

How long does the course last?

The online course is completely self-paced so you can fit it around your own routine. Although highly dependent on your skill level amongst other things, we estimate that the course will take between 4-6 hours to complete. Additionally, the requirement to become a PrintLab Certified Educator is to pass the 3 assessments at the end of the course. If you feel comfortable taking these without completing all sections, that's totally fine!

What software will I require in order to participate in the course?

A key focus of this course is 3D modelling, which we believe is one of the most important aspects of the 3D printing process. Our recommended software when getting started with 3D printing is Tinkercad, which is browser-based and completely free! Several sections of the course will require you to create and use a Tinkercad account, but don't worry if you haven't got an account yet as there is a section that goes through this process.

What if I fail an assessment?

Once the exam is complete and the 3D model and lesson structure are submitted, please allow 7 days for a PrintLab representative to assess your work and issue your digital graduation certificate. If assessments are failed, a PrintLab representative will be in touch to advise what needs to be improved to gain the certificate of completion.

Do I need a specific 3D printer to participate in the course?

Absolutely not. All the material on PrintLab Classroom is suitable for use with any FFF 3D printer. In fact, you can even complete this course without a 3D printer.