Synthesis Matrix

How will 3D printing change college biology courses?

I believe 3D printing will further enrich the learning environment of college biology students because…

Names of Authors Answer #1they will be able to learn modern skills and obtain knowledge about 3D printing that will help them further in their career for example being able to print organs and further examine living tumors Answer #2they will be able to experience hands-on learning which is important for biology students who are going into the medical field Answer #3using this kind of technology gets students excited about learning. Being able to use their creativity while learning about biology will enhance their own personal connections to the material Answer #4 3D printing can be accessible and helpful to all types of students Answer #5
Author 1

Hod Lipson

discusses teaching the basics of printing 3D models this source is very focused on hands-on learning, says 90% of knowledge is retained with concrete experience talks about how students with visual disabilities are able to use 3D models as aids
Author 2 

Johnson, L., Adams, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. & Ludgate, H

this source  specifically talks about medical schools using 3D printing to create artificial body parts like the previous answer, medical schools are using 3D printers, this is hands on learning discusses prices of different 3D printers- cost not too high for many schools
Author 3

Vincent F. Scalfan & Josh Sahib

discusses an actual study about 3D printing in Alabama University’s library-students from different majors were getting trained how to operate printer states that 3D models make technology “instantly tangible” and comments on how picking up an object to study it is much different than looking at a 2D figure  the study found that many students from all backgrounds of study were interested in learning more and in the end found the technology useful putting printers in libraries makes this technology available to all students and faculty of the school
Author 4 

Bethany Gross

3D printing can be used for surgical preparation, meaning surgeon can look at 3D model of patient beforehand- good for medical schools?  studies have shown students were able to understand material better with 3D models
Author 5

through 3D printing studios, students can learn independent work as well as the basics of 3D printing  constant hands-n work, which this author feels has been neglected in our current education system labs could create an environment where any student feels welcome to learn 3D printing skillls
Author 6

Knapp, Mary E., Ryan Wolff, and Hod Lipson

 discusses how models have been shown to enhance learning this article also talks about how it helps the visually impaired
Author 7

Faulstick, Britt

 students are able to print living tissue in medical school- a skill that may be very important later in their career  creating tumors and living tissue is a great example of hands-on learning because students are able to work with organs without potentially causing harm to a living person
Author 8

Fiona Berry

 free programs like this give so many access to this type of technology


Author 1 – Lipson, Hod. “Printable 3d models for customized hands-on education.” Mass Customization and Personalization (MCPC) (2007).

Author 2 – Johnson, L., Adams, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. & Ludgate, H. (2013). The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. NMC.

Author 3- Scalfani, Vincent F., and Josh Sahib. “A model for managing 3D printing services in academic libraries.” Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. 2013.

Author 4- Gross, Bethany C., et al. “Evaluation of 3d printing and its potential impact on biotechnology and the chemical sciences.” Analytical chemistry 86.7 (2014): 3240-3253.

Author 5- Loy, Jennifer. “eLearning and eMaking: 3D Printing Blurring the Digital and the Physical.” Education Sciences 4.1 (2014): 108-121.

Author 6- Knapp, Mary E., Ryan Wolff, and Hod Lipson. “Developing printable content: A repository for printable teaching models.” Proceedings of the 19th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin TX. 2008.

Author 7- Faulstick, Britt. “3D printing cancer tumors.” Drexel University. N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 8 July 2014. <>.

Author 8- Berry, Fiona. “NIH 3D printer project to allow public to create drug models.” N.p., 23 June 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. <>.


I see a lot of gaps in the last few sources because I think I was just finding less sources that were directly about my topic. For example, if I used a source that had nothing to do with students, it was hard to fill in some of the matrix.  I believe I have enough for all my subclaims, even though my “gets students excited” claim is a little on the skinny side. I really stand by that reason, so I will probably try and do more research solely for this claim, even though it might be a little tricky. I may end up incorporating it into another subclaim if I can smoothly. Overall, this was a really great way to organize everything because I wasn’t realizing just how much information I was collecting and it was getting messy. I think some more research can be done, but I definitely have a good bulk of information.

Research Nuggets #3 and #4

Source #1: Link

Berry, Fiona. “NIH 3D printer project to allow public to create drug models.” N.p., 23 June 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. <>.

This article’s main idea is to explain a new, free program the NIH (US National Institutes of Health) launched to let the public print 3D models of molecules. The point of this service is to allow researchers from different fields access no matter their experience with 3D printing.

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This nugget brings up the themes of our unit  connecting human intellect and computers.  3D printing really presents this idea well because it’s taking human thoughts and creativity and using a computer to create the result.

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This nugget  shows how beneficial 3D printing is for biology. It can create custom models that can aid learning. Another bonus is that the process is quick.

Source #2: Link

Doherty, Davis. “Downloading infringement: Patent law as a roadblock to the 3D printing revolution.” Harv. J. Law & Tec 26 (2012): 353-695.

This source suggests that while advance in 3D printing can be beneficial, one major downside can be patent infringement. It focuses on DIYer, aka Do it Yourselfers which are people who take on projects to make products instead of  buying them. Basically, problems can arise is a DIYers “infringes on an existing patent”.

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This nugget suggests a group be formed to help avoid patent problems involving 3D printing t. It discusses the good that can come from such technology, but also how it should be managed, so less legal issues arise. This may help make 3D printing more wide spread since it is a solution to  one of the problems that’s come up.


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This nuggets shows another solution which is creating patent laws specifically for 3D printing and similar technology.


Source #3: Link

Bourell, D. L., et al. “A brief history of additive manufacturing and the 2009 roadmap for additive manufacturing: looking back and looking ahead.” US-Turkey Workshop on Rapid Technologies. 2009.

This source discusses the evolution of 3D printing or additive manufacturing.  It discusses techniques, uses and benefits and where the author believes this kind of technology is headed.
“Develop university courses, education materials, and curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as at the technical college level”

This nugget is a future goal the author predicts will happen to education in the upcoming years.

“Develop training programs for industry practitioners with certifications given by professional societies or organizations.”

This is another goal the author believes 3D printing is headed or at least is one of the best ways to take advantage of this form of technology.


Source #4: Link

Gross, Bethany C., et al. “Evaluation of 3d printing and its potential impact on biotechnology and the chemical sciences.” Analytical chemistry 86.7 (2014): 3240-3253.

This source goes into detail about the applications of 3D printing in chemistry in biology. The author expresses the benefits of having 3D models to study and use for research.

“Studies have led to the conclusion that students were better able to conceptualize biomolecular structures when using 3D models, as confirmed by administering pre- and post comprehension tests.”

A better understanding of the material when learning is an important benefit of 3D models.  I plan on finding these studies for use in my project.

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3D printing can also be used for surgical preparation. It would be very beneficial for a surgeon to have a model of the patient before hand to help prepare for the actual surgery. I could see this be very helpful in medical school.

Source #5: Link

Loy, Jennifer. “eLearning and eMaking: 3D Printing Blurring the Digital and the Physical.” Education Sciences 4.1 (2014): 108-121.

This source describes a learning strategy involving 3D printing. It suggests 3D printing studios have improved the works of the students and have connected students “to a much bigger sense of the world”.

“In the design studio, 3D printing fundamentally reconnects students to objects and the reality of their work, which is topical as one of the most significant issues for design in higher education over the last ten years has been the breakdown of traditional studio practice [7] and the fragmentation of process. “

This nugget points out what the author finds wrong with the current education system and offers 3D printing studios as a solution.

“This new form of digital design studio places the student very much in the centre of their own learning with the facilities to work iteratively both on their own designs and in groups.”

The author also points out how it can teach students to work independently in their learning. Both collaborative and independent work are important parts of learning.

Source #6: Link

Knapp, Mary E., Ryan Wolff, and Hod Lipson. “Developing printable content: A repository for printable teaching models.” Proceedings of the 19th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin TX. 2008.

This source focuses on 3D printing in the classroom and how it can positively affect learning. It explains the benefits of hands-on learning and how 3D models can aid visually impaired students.

“Physical models have been shown to enhance learning in general student populations as well. Students learn in a variety of ways, and models allow students to include their sense of touch in the learning experience. ―The role of experience is emphasized in Piaget’s description of cognitive development, that is, to know an object a subject must act on it and thus transform it – displace, connect, combine, take apart, and reassemble it.‖ (Cohen, 1983). Science education especially benefits from the use of models.”

Piaget makes a good point about actually being about to truly know an object. Looking at a picture of something is nothing compared to being able to touch and see a 3D models of something.

“For-profit sites also host large collections of models. The aim of
this website is to collect and create educational models in one location to give educators easy access to a broad selection of free models.”

Websites are being created specifically for education and 3D printing. These sites give teachers access to models that they would print out and use when teaching. This may make 3D printing more accessible if educators have free models at their fingertips.

Synthesis: All the sources I’ve read and used have very similar themes. Most of the sources found 3D printing in the classroom to be beneficial and improved the learning environment. Hands-on learning was a major idea in many of the sources and the authors found touching and seeing 3D objects to be a helpful aid in class. In the sources where small studies were done involving students, students were observed to be active and interested in the 3D printing process.

Clauses and Signal Phrases Activity

Step I:

I believe 3D printing will further enrich the learning environment of college biology students because…

-they will be able to learn skills and obtain knowledge about 3D printing that will help them further in their career

-they will be able to experience hands-on learning

-using this kind of technology gets students excited about learning


Step II:

On the topic of 3D printing in academics, Hod Lipson, from the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University suggests, “This trend can be exploited to revive one of the important forms of hands-on active learning, as well as to address one of the challenges of mass-customized education. ”

Lipson, Hod. “Printable 3D Models for Customized Hands-on Education .” Creative Machines. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2014. <>.

In the 2013 NMC Report, a report conducted by the New Media Consortium, who track new technology in education, it is stated that, “Relatively affordable at under $2,500, the MakerBot has brought 3D printing to the masses; the technology had previously only been found in specialized labs.”

Johnson, L., Adams, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. & Ludgate, H. (2013). The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. NMC.

Vincent F. Scalfani, a Science and Engineering Librarian and Josh Sahib, a Distance Education Librarian, both at the University of Alabama conducted a study on 3D printing use in their library and claim,  User response to the availability of 3D printing has been high. In just two months, approximately 50 users have been trained through a combination of six workshops. The users came from various departments such as Art, Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and English.”

Scalfani, Vincent , and Josh Sahib. “A Model for Managing 3D Printing Services in Academic Libraries.” A Model for Managing 3D Printing Services in Academic Libraries. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2014. <>.

“Personal Dynamic” Nugget

Personal Dynamic Media is an essay written in 1977 by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, The main idea of their essay is a machine called a Dynabook, an electronic device used for writing, drawing, editing, among other things. It reminds me of a laptop or an electronic tablet (iPad).

The nugget I chose was:

“What would happen in a world in which everyone had a
Dynabook? If such a machine were designed in a way that
any owner could mold and channel its power to his own
needs, then a new kind of medium would have been created:
a metamedium, whose content would be a wide range of
already-existing and not-yet-invented media.”

It’s interesting to read some of the essays we’ve read as a class and know to some extent, answers to questions the authors ask. We now live in the world where we have technology like the Dynabook and it’s safe to say, it’s even more advanced. While it’s unfortunate that not everyone in the world has access to such technology, the amount of people who do own tablets, laptops or smartphones is large.  Such machines can be personalized by whatever content the owner choses, which follows what Kay and Goldberg expressed when they wrote, “mold and channel its power to his own needs”. Many of these technologies are also able to be used for writing and drawing and other creative endeavors, just like the Dynabook was intended to do.

I can connect this essay to all the other essays we’ve read because Personal Dynamic Media is about using an advanced piece of technology to express creativity of the human mind. I can also connect it to my inquiry project  because the same idea is applied to 3D printing.

Reflective Writing for Concept Experience #5

Part 1: When I first read the assignment, I was a little confused, but then I realized that you were asking us to apply what we usually do to our nuggets (make them interesting and robust) and use it on this article. I thought it was a fun assignment and I liked the article that was chosen because I had heard about what had happened with Facebook’s experiment, but I hadn’t read into it. The first thing I linked was in the first sentence of the article. I thought it would be good to connect to another article that described what was going on and I linked to a very recent article that would describe the experiment as well as the current repercussions. The second thing i linked to was in the section about Facebook’s data policy. I used a Times article about other instances where Facebook has come under fire for questionable uses of user data. I thought it would be a good idea to further the idea of Facebook’s controversial policies and decisions. The third item I linked was at the very end of the second paragraph. I felt it didn’t really fit in the actual paragraph, but it felt like it went well at the end because it was an article about how the journal that published the study was concerned about the ethics of the experiment. Apparently, it’s also very rare for a journal to do such a thing.  Another article I linked to was in the section where Adam Kramer described Facebook as “largest field study”. I linked to a Forbes article about many other studies that have been done involving Facebook. Though, I’m assuming, with everyone’s knowledge and consent. I also used an image at the end that was a close-up of an eye with Facebook’s logo in its reflection. I thought it looked cool and it sort of made me think of the fact that Facebook is everywhere. We’re not even looking at the computer screen this person is looking at, yet we still see the logo. I’m not sure I did anything particularly out of the box, but I did use a gif of Ron Burgendy in his “glass case of emotion”. I think I was trying to liven up the article and add some humor. I think the manipulation Facebook used was unethical and kind of creepy, but as someone who is slowly fading out of the Facebook trend, I can’t take anything related to it too seriously, mainly because I just don’t use it extensively.
Part II: When I was figuring out my new topic, it sort of came to mind “Wait,  it’s completely possible that I could find and use a 3D printer.” And then I remembered how we’re supposed to make this more than a piece of writing. So, I’m planning on going out and seeing the 3D printing process myself. I’ll take pictures and videos and I would also love to interview instructors and professors that use 3D printing or could use 3D printing and see how they feel about using it in college courses.  I assuming it will mainly reside on my blog and YouTube. I’m imagining it will have a lot of video, gifs( hopefully), interview text and images except many of them will be my own.

Concept Experience #5

Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment

Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.
In order to sign up for Facebook, users must click a box saying they agree to the Facebook Data Use Policy, giving the company the right to access and use the information posted on the site. The policy lists a variety of potential uses for your data, most of them related to advertising, but there’s also a bit about “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” In the study, the authors point out that they stayed within the data policy’s liberal constraints by using machine analysis to pick out positive and negative posts, meaning no user data containing personal information was actually viewed by human researchers. And there was no need to ask study “participants” for consent, as they’d already given it by agreeing to Facebook’s terms of service in the first place. Link
Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer is listed as the study’s lead author. In an interview the company released a few years ago, Kramer is quoted as saying he joined Facebook because “Facebook data constitutes the largest field study in the history of the world.” It’s a charming reminder that Facebook isn’t just the place you go to see pictures of your friends’ kids or your racist uncle’s latest rant against the government—it’s also an exciting research lab, with all of us as potential test subjects.

Research Nugget #2

Source 1: Link

Faulstick, Britt. “3D printing cancer tumors.” Drexel University. N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 8 July 2014. <>.

This source’s main focus is that 3D printing can now create cancer tumors for further research and study. Cancer researchers believe that this will benefit them greatly because now they can see how a living model of a tumor behaves, without experimenting on a live person.

“However, two-dimensional culture models can not represent true 3D physiological tissues so it lacks the microenvironment characteristics of natural 3D tissues in vivo. This inherent inadequacy leads to shortcomings in cancer research and anti-tumor drug development.”

This focuses more on the future benefits of studying 3D printing in biology. Being able to print these living models of tumors is changing the way researchers can study them and may be able to change how we are able to treat them in people.

“They will work to print tumors composed of multiple different cells –a trait often found in those removed from cancer patients. In addition, the group is working on ways to attach the models to tissues and vasculature that they’ve printed, which would recreate the way tumors grow in their bodily habitat. “

The article goes on to talk about future goals for tumor printing, so they are expanding upon this new information everyday. Medical schools with 3D printing technology are teaching how to print living tissue for students to study. With that type of education being taught, cancer research is vastly improving.

Source 2: Link

This source focuses more on the general benefits that 3D printing can have on society. It explains how quickly products can be produced while using less material and less energy, therefore making the process environmentally friendly or friendlier than the processes we use now. This source may not be directly related to my specific question, but I feel like it’s good background info/ point of view.

“Printing allows an engineer or designer
to “print” her or his ideas immediately to assess the viability
of the product and incorporate design changes. Instant
incorporation of design changes and product improvement
for each printing would allow for the constant updating of
products or tailoring of each produced item to meet the
needs and specifications of the user.”

The concept of “printing ideas” is exactly what I want to get across in my project. Students would be able to create designs and thoughts, thus connecting their ideas to the coursework at hand. This can obviously link directly to art students, but like I’ve read about in other articles, students from all different studies can find this process useful.

“By significantly reducing waste in the manufacturing
process, AM also could enhance global “resource
productivity”—that is, getting more “product” out of the
same quantity of a given resource.”

Again, not directly related to my topic, but I think to find information about benefits of 3D printing can be a helpful source.

Source 3: Link

Davies, Janey . “Children Show the Way for 3D Printing |”Inside3DP. N.p., 6 July 2014. Web. 8 July 2014. <>.

This recent article focuses on the way children and young adults are already using 3D printing to change the world. It states giving younger generations a head start in technology like 3D printing at a young age, may create interest in the science fields in the future.

“So, it appears that giving children access to innovative technology only serves to broaden their minds and exposes them to subjects that they wouldn’t normally be interested in.”

Though this article may be more of a one-sided opinion, this is the idea that I want to convey in my project. Hands-on learning can create an interest for students that sometimes textbooks lack.

“They decided to focus on 3D printing, and ended up producing low-cost 3D printed prosthetic limbs for amputees.”

This nugget is from a story of college students from New Zealand who were challenged to “to develop an innovative business plan, using some of the latest technology available.” For students to create a product that is so beneficial to society is an amazing accomplishment. If this type of technology is taught in classrooms worldwide, who knows what could be created.

Synthesis: The 3 articles that I chose for this nugget I noticed were more connected to science and biology and how 3D printing could benefit society and it’s students. I think it’s important to recognize the advantages and benefits of 3D printing because it can encourage students to create change as well as models and designs. The students were able to prosthetic limbs and researchers are able to study tumors and organs. It’s not only about creating learning aids for the classroom, but about using technology to help the greater good.

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