I hear it all the time at events and with 3D printing executives–the need for skilled engineers, designers, and developers who can really make use of the capabilities of 3D printing. One way to get the skilled employees we need is to start when they are in school. The kids “playing” with the consumer style desktop 3D printers today will be so advanced when they become eligible for employment, that the U.S. will experience an interesting Renaissance. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of “FIRST” program that focused on 3D printing? Well, it looks like MakerBot will take up that request.
The executives at MakerBot have decided that they will play a key role in educating the young about this technology. They are on a mission: to put a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer in every school in America. Thus, they have developed an initiative that is a unique partnership between MakerBot, DonorsChoose.org, America Makes, and Autodesk. This initiative is their response to the recent call to action by the President of the United States.
According to a recent press release, MakerBot was inspired by the President’s commitment to keep America at the forefront of the Next Industrial Revolution and is eager to do its part to educate today’s students, who are the next generation of innovative makers, engineers, product designers, architects, and artists, who could benefit from having 3D printing technology in the classroom.
“We are thrilled that MakerBot and America Makes are joining a growing coalition of citizens working to give American students the ability to design and make almost anything,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director for Technology and Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “As the President has said, we all need to think creatively about giving our young people the tools to be ‘the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.’”
You can get involved.
Individuals and corporations interested in helping get MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers in schools can visit DonorsChoose.org, a crowd funding site for teachers, and pledge to financially support the program. Teachers then register on DonorsChoose.org for a MakerBot Academy bundle. MakerBot is contributing its own resources to launch this education initiative, along with key partners. Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, has personally pledged to put a MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer in public high schools in MakerBot’s hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition, Scott Crump, original inventor of FDM 3D printing technology and founder of Stratasys, has pledged his support. Pettis encourages everyone to join MakerBot in this effort at an individual or corporate level to help move America’s students to the forefront of technology and global competitiveness.
Each MakerBot Academy bundle contains a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, three spools of MakerBot® PLA Filament, and a full year of the MakerBot MakerCare™ Service and Protection Plan. MakerBot will also support the teachers with the development of ongoing 3D printing curriculum that teachers can participate in and use in the classroom. MakerBot will leverage Autodesk’s software and educator curriculum as well.
“Autodesk signed on as a key partner in the MakerBot Academy initiative because helping students unlock their creativity and prepare for future careers is a core part of our mission,” said Samir Hanna, Autodesk vice president, consumer products. “Bringing together accessible applications like Autodesk TinkerCAD project-based curriculum from our instructables.com community and the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer will inspire and engage the next generation of design-minded students.”
MakerBot is also launching a MakerBot Thingiverse Math Manipulatives Challenge. Math Manipulatives are one of the most requested items on DonorsChoose.org and are an item that can easily be 3D printed in the classroom. The MakerBot Thingiverse website will hold a week-long design challenge, from November 12 through 18, 2013, for its members to quickly develop a variety of different math manipulative 3D designs that can then be available immediately to teachers that receive the MakerBot Academy 3D printing package.
“As a former teacher, I believe strongly in creating a new model for innovation. A MakerBot is a manufacturing education in a box,” said Bre Pettis. “We need to encourage our teachers and our youth to think differently about manufacturing and innovation. When you have a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer, you see the world differently. Instead of waiting for someone to create a product for you, you can create your own. It can change the whole paradigm of how our children will see innovation and manufacturing in America.”
To bring manufacturing back to America, students of today must be exposed to and experienced in advanced manufacturing tools that can assist them in securing engineering, architecture, product design and manufacturing jobs tomorrow. To do that, they must have access to these tools that can help take their education to a new level and empower them to think differently about the world and manufacturing. MakerBot sees this as an opportunity to bring 3D printing into our schools and classrooms.
Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes said, “We need to nurture the minds of America’s youth today, to create a strong workforce for tomorrow. This is a key tenet of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, so when MakerBot approached us with this opportunity, we were eager to show our full support. When America Makes, America Works.”
Here’s how it works:
Visit DonorsChoose.org and pledge your support. Individuals and corporations can help fund the MakerBot Academy 3D Printing package by making a tax-deductible donation via DonorsChoose.org.
Then tell schoolteachers about the MakerBot Academy program and encourage them to register on DonorsChoose.org right away. Students and their community can also help teachers raise the additional funds they need to bring the MakerBot Academy 3D Printing bundle into the classroom.
Participate in the Thingiverse Challenge to develop models teachers can use to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
For more information on MakerBot Academy, visit makerbot.com/Academy. For more information on supporting or registering for the program, visit DonorsChoose.org.