Last year I made the bold prediction that by the end of 2014 30-40% of all high schools in the United States would have at least one 3D printer in use. It’s hard to tell if this prediction was at all accurate, but judging from those who I have spoken to within the education field, it appears I may have overestimated the speed at which printers were adopted within schools. With that said, we are well on the way to hitting these numbers probably this year, and perhaps with some luck, similar adoption rates will occur in middle schools across the U.S. as well.
There are already many major initiatives in place to entice schools and teachers to introduce this amazing technology into their curricula. Discounts are provided by many major 3D printer manufacturers, and there are already several different pre-made curricula for creative uses of 3D printing available online.
Brook Drumm, CEO and founder of PrintrBot is one of the biggest proponents when it comes to placing 3D printers in schools. He has worked tirelessly in an effort to not only bring his 3D printers, like the Printrbot Simple into schools, but also has teamed up with teachers to propose a 3D printing curriculum.
Drumm has just stepped things up a notch. In a move which is certain to further the integration of 3D printers into the educational space, Drumm has revealed new plans by PrintrBot to launch an effort aimed at lowering the barriers of entry to getting 3D printers into schools.
The new initiative is split into two parts. The first part creates a Printrbot Ambassador Program. This program allows educators to sign up for a one month trial of a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer at no cost besides shipping. The trial machine will come equipped with an Alu handle, a spool holder, and one kg of filament. After one month the machine can be sent back and Printrbot will ship it off to the next school. Decide to keep it, pay the $399 price and it’s a permanent fixture within your school.
The second part of this multi-faceted initiative is a large discount on the Printrbot Simple for all educators.
“Every School in America can now afford a 3d printer,” stated Drumm. “We will provide one Printrbot Simple Metal at a special price of $399 for each school in the USA. All we ask is verification that you are buying for a school and permission to post your school as a participant on a public web page.”
This offer will begin with a limited quantity of Printrbot Simple machines, 100 per month, and will be managed via a sign-up list which will be posted on the Printrbot website. Drumm states that this initiative is more then just selling Printrbots. One 3D printer is all that a school needs to get started 3D printing their own open source machines, duplicating the one printer, creating an entire army of machines for each classroom.
“If you prefer buying assembled printers, Printrbot has some great options, but there are lots of different manufacturers to choose from out there. We think you will like our Simple Metal, but even if you choose another model from another manufacturer, we would love to play an important part in introducing your school to this exciting tool that can teach a variety of skills and disciplines,” stated Drumm.
This initiative will launch sometime next week. Drumm has requested that anyone who is interested in this idea stay tuned to their website for further information and instructions. Let us know your thoughts on the Printrbot Simple, as well as Drumm’s plans to further education. Discuss in the PrintrBot Education Initiative forum thread on 3DPB.com.