Chances are, if you’ve even heard of Estonia, then you probably know very little about it. Over its long and storied history, Estonia has been invaded and occupied by Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and, until about 30 years ago, the Soviet Union. With that type of history, you may think that Estonia is a struggling nation, but in reality it is probably one of the most technologically advanced governments in the global community. Even with a population of only 1.3 million people, Estonia is a model of how a government fully integrated with the internet can make its citizens’ lives easier.
The Estonian government began providing their citizens with a cutting edge national identification card containing a chip with a 2048-bit public key encryption that they can use to access their bank account, as a national health card, vote online and digitally sign documents. They can also use it to start businesses online, pay their taxes and use a platform to instantly verify business and money transactions. They also offer a revolutionary e-Residency program that allows global businesses the option of basing their business in Estonia so they can also have access to their state of the art internet infrastructure. This northeastern European nation uses the internet in ways that the United States can’t even imagine, and it is turning their population into one of the most tech-savvy in the world.
The nation is also heavily focusing on high-tech STEAM education to help their next generation continue to embrace technology as a way to enhance their population’s lives. In fact, that is actually the mission of Eesti 2.0, an Estonian nonprofit organization that introduces school-aged kids to technology. In an effort to encourage the development of 3D education, Eesti 2.0 has now given 50 Estonian schools brand new MakerBot Replicator Fifth Generation desktop 3D printers.
The Estonian schools include elementary, middle, and high school-aged students, and they have already begun to use their printers for a wide variety of projects and educational lessons. Math classes are using their MakerBot to 3D print geometric shapes, biology classes are 3D printing life-sized body parts and organs, art classes are 3D printing vases and landscapes and their engineering classes are 3D printing parts and components for robotics projects. One class even started a student-run business that manufactures and sells parts to help keep iPhone chargers from breaking.
“There is a special sparkle in their eyes. They’re so excited that they do 3D modeling at home, and then come to school to print out their designs,” a teacher from the Kristiine Secondary School in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, told MakerBot.
According to the teachers, their students are using the MakerBots almost every day, and these are helping to keep them engaged and motivated, even when they go home for the day. In the near future, the participating schools are hoping to launch nationwide 3D printing competitions, develop a way to exhibit successful 3D printing projects, and find ways to help other schools get access to their own MakerBot 3D printers.
MakerBot has now sold more than 100,000 MakerBot’s sold all over the world, so they launched their #MakerMilestone giveaway. To enter for a chance for a free MakerBot, all that you need to do is share your own maker milestone on social media. Post a 3D design, 3D print or other 3D printing project on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and include #MakerMilestones and @MakerBot in your post. MakerBot is also celebrating by offering a $400 price cut on new MakerBot Replicator Fifth Generation 3D printers, which are now $2,499. Discuss in the Estonian Schools Receive MakerBots forum over at 3DPB.com.