Maker’s Empire is an Australian startup that released a 3D print design application that was created through a collaboration with 3D Printing Systems and three elementary schools in Adelaide, Australia and has been spreading around the world. The early pilot program helped software developers refine the app and address unforeseen needs, and since then, Maker’s Empire has been on the path to establishing its empire in the corporate/education sector. Most recently we see evidence of the Maker’s Empire growth in an Oakland, California program called NewSchool Ignite.
The idea is to use the app to encourage learning in the STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. And since the app has been around now for more than one year, we now see how it is gaining more popularity internationally. Take for example the app’s recent use in NewSchools Ignite, a program of NewSchools Venture Fund, which is a “national nonprofit that uses venture philanthropy to transform public education.” NewSchools Ignite, which is a technology accelerator program linking entrepreneurs to K-12 education issues, used the Maker’s Empire app to begin their “first virtual accelerator” with their Science Learning Challenge winners in Oakland, CA.
Tonika Cheek Clayton, Managing Partner of the NewSchools Venture Fund, has this to say about the app:
“The innovative approach of Makers Empire to inspiring students to use and engage with 3D modelling and printing is an exceptional example of the type of project we want all students to experience. New tools like this will revolutionize the way schools teach and how the next generation learns.”
And the Maker’s Empire team couldn’t be more excited about this recognition from NewSchools, as it seeks to have its software adopted in more places and used for a variety of education-related programs. Public education has been turned on its head, or as people like to say “disrupted” in recent years with mass chartering, the closing of schools, and new rigid testing and curriculum guidelines through Common Core national standards. 3D printing in the classroom may be a silver lining on a cloud as students will be exposed to new technology at a time when education policy is highly contentious and everyone has a view or what we should be doing in our schools.
Maker’s Empire CEO Jon Soong certainly weighs in on what we should be doing in our classrooms. We should be 3D printing. He has this to say about NewSchools Ignite’s use of the Maker’s Empire app:
“Makers Empire is achieving real teaching outcomes with software, lesson plan ideas, training tools and professional development programs in many countries around the world. The acceptance into the NewSchools Ignite program is fantastic recognition for what our product can do to help NewSchools achieve its mission, we have a lean and productive team ready to create maximum impact. We are grateful that good people are prepared to back important programs like NewSchools.”
While education policy remains quite controversial, especially the role of private money in our public schools, at least more kids will be exposed to 3D printing in the process of figuring out how schools will be run in the future, and who will run them.
Due to apps like Maker’s Empire, 3D printing may be for the next generation what the Internet and social media has been for the previous one — when it comes to new technology. As someone who has taught many age groups, I can tell you that 3D printing education makes me excited for the students who will get exposed to it.
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