Today when we hear the term STEAM, we think of curriculum by way of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics—and we know this certainly isn’t the same type of learning our parents or grandparents had the privilege of enjoying; however, the jobs that many graduating students will shoot tomorrow for did not exist when our parents and grandparents entered a much different workforce, nearly lacking technology as we know it altogether.
Often involving 3D design and 3D printing, the STEAM angle means forging ahead in offering students of all ages skillsets that will hopefully help them move into extremely fulfilling careers one day. And when we hear of Polar 3D, we think of a company that we know is on a serious mission to put 3D printing in schools, introducing and expanding educational use of the technology and propelling the younger generations ahead both to innovate and ‘think like entrepreneurs.’ So upon hearing that Polar 3D had just acquired STEAMtrax from 3D Systems, we thought it sounded like a bold move and an obvious, logical fit.
“We are pleased to have found such a suitable home for STEAMtrax and will continue to support its growth,” says Hugh Evans, VP Corporate Development and Ventures for 3D Systems. “We are impressed with the design of the Polar desktop printer, the power behind the Polar Cloud, and the company’s focus on education.”
While none of the financial details have been released, what we do know about the curriculum as it stands right now is that it is a fairly new program meant to combine engineering, CAD modeling, and 3D printing with the typical fundamentals like language arts, social studies, art, science, and math. The learning system is in place right now for students K-8, and a high-school curriculum is set for release by this August.
Polar3D will be acquiring the technology, customers, and also—very positively—some of the team already in place for STEAMtrax, to include Dee Kerr as President. Kerr was previously CEO of STEAMtrax and has most recently been serving as VP, Global K-12 Education at 3D Systems.
“When I first saw the Polar Cloud, I was amazed by the platform’s capabilities,” says Kerr. “The Polar Cloud allows students and educators the ability to easily manage, store, and share STL files with a click of a button. There is also a camera built into each printer so it is easy to view projects remotely as they build, or you can watch a time-lapse video to observe how the print layers from start to completion. I knew immediately that Polar 3D was the right choice for us.”
We’ve been reporting on Polar 3D since they launched their first 3D printer at the beginning of last year, and if you’ve been following along too, you may remember that their machine is not only named after polar coordinates, but its performance is also uniquely based on them. The Polar 3D printer has been priced affordably for all, but especially with substantial discounts for students and those involved in education. And as the Polar 3D team says, it’s more than just a machine—it’s an entire set of proprietary software products and services, both easy to set up and take off with in creating amazing 3D models.
As Polar 3D melds all they have to offer with STEAMtrax, they will be gaining an already widespread program that includes what is called ‘a framework for 21st century learning skills’—drawing students in and challenging them to work together, solve problems, and use critical thinking that may very likely be a major requirement when they get into the real world and embark on a related career. Lessons currently associated with the program heavily rely on 3D design, printing, and scanning, encouraging creativity, while offering relevant new tools and skills. The curriculum is comprised of an extensive list of learning modules, superb and integrated technology, and classroom-ready science kits.
“With 3D Systems’ exit from the consumer market, we saw an opportunity to partner with them and continue their great work and momentum in the education space,” says Greg LaLonde, CEO of Polar 3D. “We welcome the tens of thousands of teachers and students on STEAMtrax and look forward to enhancing their 3D experience by improving their ability to collaborate, learn and interact socially and virtually via our Polar Cloud.”
As Polar 3D takes the reins, we’ll look forward to seeing the program expand and thrive further, offering students new ways to go from a 2D world to seeing, working, and creating in 3D. With STEAM learning—and programs like STEAMtrax–kids are met with a much more interactive, almost magical world of education, often just introducing them to the wonders of technology like 3D printers, allowing for an infinite number of options in creating, innovating—and often allowing young people to surprise the world at large today with new and useful inventions. As we often hear in regards to 3D printers in the classroom, today it’s the kids who are keeping the teachers after class as they just don’t want to stop learning! Were you surprised to hear about this acquisition? Let’s discuss over in the Polar 3D Acquires STEAMtrax forum at 3DPB.com.
Polar 3D is an innovative 3D printing technology and manufacturing company. They offer collaborative cloud-based software solutions for 3D printing in the education market (the Polar Cloud) and a portfolio of patents covering innovative technologies and products, including the Polar 3D desktop printer which is differentiated by its use of a polar coordinate system as opposed to Cartesian.