Anyone that’s spent time in a classroom in a school of late will likely have noticed two things: There’s always a laser cutter that’s been used to death, and you’ll have probably noticed there’s a 3D printer sat in the corner, doing not a lot. Why is this the case?
There’s a reason that 3D printers don’t exactly help in the classroom and the answer is pretty much down to speed. 3D printing is a painfully slow process compared to other options available.
If you’ve got a room full of 30 rowdy kids, the novelty of watching an extruder head crawl across a build platform is going to wear thinly. That’s why the laser cutter reigns supreme – it’s fast, it’s efficient and you can use all manner of materials and supporting items.
3D printing has a longer teaching time, not only for the teachers to get up to speed, but also getting the kids creating the 3D data for it. Then you’ve got the cost of running the machines and the inevitable problems with maintenance.
To try and help change this, Makerbot has launched a new MakerBot Educators program.
This program in intended to “empower educators to promote the use of 3D printing in their classrooms by exchanging knowledge with other educators, participating in challenges and receiving support and guidance from MakerBot.”
“After recently establishing Thingiverse Education, now the largest collection of 3D printing lesson plans online, we saw an immediate response from hundreds of teachers who were excited to contribute content and share best practices with their peers,” said MakerBot Learning manager Drew Lentz.
“The new MakerBot Educators program is taking it a step further by forging a closer relationship between MakerBot and the most engaged teachers of our community.”
If you’re in the US you’ll also have need to have contributed two items to Makerbot’s Thingiverse Education portal and have access to a MakerBot device in order to participate.
After becoming a member, you will be invited to join the MakerBot Education team in monthly missions, designed to increase student access to the technology, expand the content available for classroom use, and promote the benefits of design thinking and STEM learning.