In talking with a friend lately whose kids are a couple of science whiz kids, she mentioned to me that they had become interested in 3D printing and before purchasing a 3D printer decided to look for an educational book on 3D printing at the local library — hoping for a free 3D Printing 101 of sorts. She was shocked to find little to nothing on the subject at the local library.
While I understand that funding for libraries probably isn’t what it used to be, and that of course you could hit a large retailer and find information for a price, the fact that she could not find anything at the library speaks volumes about 3D printing education hitting the mainstream.
It occurred to me that the gaping hole in the 3D printing education world probably won’t last long. And right on cue comes 3D Heights Online Academy, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of raising $50,000 by January 29, 2015.
The 3D Heights team wants everyone to have the chance to earn a degree in 3D printing, and they would like to offer you that education as well. With the funds they hope to receive from their Kickstarter campaign, their plan is to offer the public the opportunity to enroll in something new: a 3D printing online academy, offering interested students and enthusiasts access to courses in:
- 3D Design
- 3D Scanning
- 3D Printing
3D Heights plans to offer videos, text, support, and testing to reinforce the learning and, of course, present students with their certificates. They will offer online seminars and also plan to offer 3D printing classes at area schools.
As established, large companies involved in manufacturing, educational institutions, and the government clamor for those educated in STEM disciplines to fill empty seats at jobs requiring qualifications in science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing, 3D Heights is right on target. While many people will want to take the course for their own benefit as hobbyists and tinkerers, 3D Heights has a real opportunity to engage and educate the public regarding a skill that is being more and more sought after by companies who are significant in the manufacturing industry — and others — worldwide.
The 3D Heights team means to ‘close the gap’ with the 3D Heights Online Academy. And this is a group of people who one, know their 3D printing — and two, are accustomed to working very hard to reaching their goals. As business owners in the intense marketplace of New York City, they live in a competitive, high-tech world. The team opened their physical storefront two years ago and have dedicated an enormous amount of hours to building a successful business and to educating and supporting the 3D printing community in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world.
Their ultimate goal is to achieve accreditation through the American Council on Education (ACE) so that eventually students will receive college credit for attending the American Council on Education (ACE). Funds from the Kickstarter campaign will allow 3D Heights to tend to the constant creation of high-quality content for students.
Currently, the courses they plan to offer are:
- Introduction to 3D Printing
- Introduction to 3D Designing
- Teaching Fundamentals of 3D Printing
- Business Applications of 3D Printing
Also in development are more advanced courses in:
- Introduction to Subtractive Fabrication
- Build A 3D Printing Business
- HelpDesk 3D Printing Training
Funds will also be used for equipment, access to experts in the field, and staff. They plan to create an “amazing space for invention and creativity” where anyone who is interested can enter the world of 3D printing.
Pledging begins at the lower levels under $99 with items such as books and instructional materials. At $99 and up, those who pledge can look forward to varying tiers of educational packages from a more limited beginning form to full packages, onsite learning, and even the “VIP All-Star,” which includes a full learner package and a weekend visit to 3D Heights’ headquarters.
Have you been to the 3D Heights storefront in New York? Is this a course offering that interests you? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Heights Online Academy forum over at 3DPB.com.