Last year, MakerBot announced that it was shifting its focus from the consumer to the professional and educational, and has been working hard to continue making strides in the wonderful world of 3D printing education, from introducing a new 3D printer geared toward educational users and opening up numerous MakerBot Innovation Centers at universities and high schools to developing a helpful resource guide to help educators find the best grants for their schools. Now, the company is introducing its latest 3D printing solutions for educators: a cloud-based 3D printing platform for Google Chromebook classrooms, called My MakerBot, and a new MakerBot guidebook for teachers.
The web-based platform is designed to offer educators an easy way to manage and monitor multiple 3D printers in individual classrooms and makerspaces, using the classroom’s Google Chromebooks. It’s helpful for teachers to introduce innovative technologies in STEAM classrooms with powerful, simple methods, and the seamless, open access My MakerBot platform does the trick.
“This development is part of our continued focus on customers needs, and is at the core of our efforts in education to dramatically improve student access to 3D printers,” said MakerBot CEO Nadav Goshen. “As more and more districts adopt Chromebooks and rely on web-based apps, 3D printers are being implemented in those same classrooms – making fully connected, cloud-based 3D printing more important than ever for both teachers and students.”
The platform connects a classroom’s connected 3D printers, Thingiverse Education account, purchasing, and pending support cases, and allows users to import and prepare 3D files, start print jobs, and monitor the print progress from a single dashboard. Now students can move their ideas from lesson plans to 3D designs and 3D printed objects, just using a classroom Chromebook, and teachers can easily manage the use of classroom 3D printing.
MakerBot also worked with Autodesk Tinkercad to connect the K-12 design software right to the My MakerBot platform, so students can create their own 3D models, export their designs directly to the platform, and 3D print them without having to leave the web browser.
“By connecting two powerful STEM learning tools, we’re empowering educators so that they can equip students with critical problem solving skills,” MakerBot PR Manager Josh Snider explained.
In addition, MakerBot released its MakerBot Educators Guidebook, a 140-page manual that was co-written with over 80 STEM education leaders. This definitive guide to implementing 3D printing in the classroom includes a crash course in 3D design and printing, and nine classroom-ready 3D printing projects.
The guidebook offers teachers much-needed support in introducing 3D printing technology to their students, and each project lists step-by-step instructions, which core standards they fulfill, and helpful author notes to guide teachers from the beginning of the projects to the end.
The included projects are just a small offering of the nearly 300 lesson plans currently available on Thingiverse Education, which is the largest online portal for educators to find classroom 3D printing content.
“3D printers aren’t the center of classrooms, students are,” wrote Snider. “That’s why MakerBot is always working to set new standards in ease-of-use and reliability while connecting teachers to high quality curriculum and the largest community of 3D printing educators.”
You can download the first project, “Cloud Types,” for free to get an early preview of the guidebook.
The Chromebook-compatible My MakerBot platform and the MakerBot Educators Guidebook will be widely available for classroom use by the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Also, these two new 3D printing education solutions will be showcased this week at MakerBot’s booth #600 at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in San Antonio. Discuss in the MakerBot forum at 3DPB.com.