Since computers and printers became ubiquitous in the classroom, the relationship between education and technology has been contentious. With the expansion of tablets and 3D printers, the debate rages on as to when technology might impede with students' ability to learn. No matter doubts people may have, Forbes reports one of the largest initiatives to get 3D printers in classrooms that will launch shortly. By teaching children as young as 12 computer imaging and modeling software, one company hopes to inspire a new generation of inventors.
The Company Behind the Program
Like many strong and well-funded educational technology programs, the "3D Printer in Every School" initiative was developed by a multinational business with significant wealth. In this case, that company is Gadgets3D. Based out of Poland and Hong Kong, they are responsible for designing the RepRap G3D, which will soon to be released to the general public at a cost of $499, making it one the most affordable commercially available 3D printers.
Though they build already assembled 3D printers, those with advanced construction skills can also use the PDF version of their free manual, which provides step-by-step instructions for building a 3D printer. Two teenagers and a teacher out of South Africa have even built a mobile app that can be used in conjunction with this printer.
The Specifics of the School Initiative
With the "3D Printer in Every School" initiative, Gadgets3D will offer a build kit and printer to participating schools for the low cost of $245. This will enable them to have a printer, computer modeling software, and the different raw materials required to physically print the objects. Though teachers must be heavily involved to supervise some of the advanced design and modeling software, high school age students will have a unique opportunity to be involved in all aspects of making a physical product.
This will enable them to learn the components that go into the production of new objects. As a result, this will help the students prepare for more advanced computer and science technology courses they might take in college. It might even get them inspired to work in the medical field. As the STEM Education Coalition explains, innovative programs like this one will allow the "U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century" by combining so many different fields of study in one process.
Though it remains to be seen exactly where 3D printing will fit in when it comes to education, it's clear a lot of companies (and not just Gadgets3D) are banking on an industry that feels like it's providing a new technology development each day. At 247inktoner, we believe that while nothing can ever replace conventional desktop printing, there is also tremendous room for 3D printing to create objects that will change our entire consumer experience. This change has to come from the youngest generation because they will ultimately be the generation most invested in this technology.
Feel free to share your own thoughts on educational, technology, and 3D printing below. Or let us know what you'd like to see a 3D printer create.