A couple of weeks ago, Dremel 3D continued their push for 3D printing education with the release of the Idea Builder 3D40 App, a mobile application to enhance their classroom-oriented Idea Builder 3D40-EDU. The app was designed to make 3D printing easier and more accessible for students inside and out of the classroom, as well as helping teachers to develop projects and lesson plans. Dremel’s latest focus, in fact, seems to be on teachers – at the time of the app’s release, the company also announced that they would soon be launching a teacher ambassador program, with further details to be released shortly.
Today, the Idea Builder Ambassador Program was officially unveiled. Dremel is looking for ten K-12 teachers to act as “ambassadors” for 3D printing education, and the selected educators will receive plenty of supplies from Dremel to help them do so, including a free Idea Builder 3D40 printer and ten spools of filament. Ambassadors will use those supplies in 3D printing-related classroom projects and lessons throughout the 2016-2017 school year, and will document their experiences on social media for other educators and anyone with an interest in 3D printing or STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.
To apply to become an ambassador, teachers must record a two-minute video detailing the ways in which they would put a 3D printer to use in the classroom, and submit it via Dremel’s Facebook page. Creativity and originality are major factors in the selection process, so don’t hold back – even if your ideas may seem pretty “out there,” Dremel wants to hear about them anyway. 3D printing is all about thinking big, so go ahead and let your imagination run wild.
Entries are being accepted until June 10, and the winners will be announced on June 27 at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2016 conference in Denver. If you’re chosen to be an ambassador, your work is just beginning. The term “ambassador” implies a lot of outreach and publicity, and Idea Builder Ambassadors will be expected to share everything 3D printing-related happening in their classrooms over the course of the school year.
Social media is key – chosen ambassadors will keep blogs and post on their social media accounts about their experiences, from the students’ first days experimenting with 3D printing to final projects, as well as everything that happens in between. Videos of projects and lessons are encouraged, so that other educators across the country can see firsthand what can be done with 3D printing in the classroom, even if they’ve never had any experience with it themselves.
As I’ve been writing this, a seemingly nonsensical phrase keeps running through my head: “educating educators through education.” It may seem redundant, but somehow it seems to fit a project like this one. One of the most important parts of implementing 3D printing – and STEM in general – education is preparing teachers, who are often at a disadvantage compared to their own students, who have grown up with technology. With an initiative like the Idea Builder Ambassador Program, teachers are not only learning alongside their students but are helping other teachers nationwide to learn by sharing their lessons. There may only be ten teachers selected for the program, but in this case, everybody wins. Discuss this program over in the 3D Printing Ambassadors forum at 3DPB.com.