A report from New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2015 recently identified a top trend in education as advancing cultures of change and innovation. MakerBot sees the adoption of desktop 3D printing in the classroom as a way to create a culture of innovation, stimulate creativity, and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. To help attain such a goal, MakerBot announced its newest offering, the MakerBot Starter Lab, to the marketplace. It is designed to get a school or organization’s 3D printing capabilities up and running quickly and efficiently to accelerate innovation among its users.
The MakerBot Starter Lab provides a scalable, reliable 3D printing lab that is easy to implement. Available as a single purchase, it includes MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, a MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, MakerBot MakerCare Protection Plans for all hardware, a supply of parts and materials, and a custom-tailored, on-site MakerBot Learning workshop.
“The MakerBot Starter Lab is designed to help educational institutions prepare students to be more college and career ready by providing them with relevant, competitive skills today,” said Frank Alfano, acting CEO of MakerBot. “For businesses, a MakerBot Starter Lab can provide a competitive advantage as an investment in future technology that fuels new ideas and growth. 3D printing can speed up innovation and iteration, help facilitate Real-Time Prototyping and shorten product design cycles.” Alfano noted that the MakerBot Starter Lab offers the advantages of the comprehensive MakerBot 3D Ecosystem, which helps make the entry into 3D printing more accessible by combining hardware, software, apps, training and support.
In universities, K-12 schools and libraries, a MakerBot Starter Lab, can introduce faculty and students to the exciting and accessible MakerBot 3D Ecosystem and increase research, collaboration and entrepreneurship. The MakerBot Starter Lab can serve as an innovation hub where students, faculty and researchers develop ideas and bring projects to life through desktop 3D printing and scanning. For schools that would like to embrace 3D printing on a larger scale, MakerBot also offers a larger 3D printing solution: the MakerBot Innovation Center.
“When computer labs first started going into schools, educators noticed a transformation taking place with students’ enthusiasm and interest in learning,” noted Alfano. “We see that same type of excitement in students, faculty and the community when they have access to MakerBot 3D printing products in schools.” MakerBot believes that there is no better way to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow than by putting them at the forefront of new technologies that will shape the future. For K-12 schools, the MakerBot Starter Lab provides the tools and resources that teachers and students need to achieve a world-class science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education.
Two colleges have already purchased the MakerBot Starter Lab package: the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill) and Union College in Schenectady, New York, which benefited from an alumni donation of the MakerBot Starter Lab.
John Rieffel, assistant professor of computer science at Union College, noted, “The MakerBot Starter Lab has already helped the college quickly make 3D printing accessible to more students to foster creativity and collaboration.” So far, 3D projects have included modeling and printing geometric shapes to help visualize and better understand mathematical concepts; printing masks of historical figures to make historical facts more accessible; and an ambitious effort to work with local artists in Vietnam to explore the intersection of high-fashion carved wooden shoes and 3D printing.
Jim Dutcher, CIO with the Information Technology Services team at SUNY Cobleskill, is looking forward to installing its MakerBot Starter Lab to bring together disparate academic programs and create exciting experiential opportunities for their students. “From Agricultural Engineering to Early Childhood Education, SUNY Cobleskill seeks innovative solutions to today’s challenges,” said SUNY Cobleskill president Dr. Debra H. Thatcher. “We’re excited to explore the new possibilities and applications that MakerBot’s cutting-edge 3D printing technology will afford our entire spectrum of learning environments.”