Five years ago, few of us had even heard of 3D printers.  Now some say many of us will have one in our home soon.  They're becoming quite popular in schools too.  Teachers call it an "engineering education in a box."  Dayton City School recently purchased one, and students are excited about their 3D future.

Slowly, but surely, the printer turns ideas into reality.  Students involved in science, math and art projects can now hold what they once were only able to draw, on paper, or even a computer.

Fifth-grader Valarie Nevans said, "It's new technology, it was hard to get for a while, but more people will have it as the price goes down."  

Matt Marcus, the school's director of information technology services, said, "We are excited to share the potential 3D printing technology has for so many industries, including education.  This is just the beginning."

As recently as two years ago, 3D printers were a rare sight in schools, used mostly in colleges,  or schools specializing in science and engineering.  Dayton City School, which prides itself in staying current in technology, obtained the printer a few weeks ago, and teachers are already imagining the future.

Art teacher Nela Swiney said, "We can take something that is just in a student's imagination, and bring it off the paper, or off the computer screen and let them hold it in their hand. It will really have a positive impact on their education."  Although the school purchased a relatively small unit,  larger 3D printers are already being credited for advances in health care, robotics and engineering.  

At Dayton, students are considered the architects, artists, and health care workers of the future.  Just as Americans once dreamed of tiny hand-held computers, they know the possibilities for what they can now create are endless.