As 3D printing technology progresses by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, it would seem, spreading innovation and often pure wonder to nearly every corner of the globe, it becomes apparent that one area needs as much emphasis as possible: education. There need to be more 3D printers in more schools, giving instructors more tools. This is most likely going to be accomplished in one way, to steal the motto from Teach Design–‘for teachers, by teachers.’
As corporations–small, medium, and mega-sized–make it clear that they have a surplus of jobs for those skilled in digital design and 3D printing–and a surplus of empty seats–it’s obvious that intense effort and campaigning needs to go into support for supplying students with the tools to learn. 3D printing ties right in with STEAM curricula, and it’s a magnetic avenue for getting kids involved in all aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
While often the onus is on the parents to supply kids with what they need to go into the world, it is not realistic, however, to expect that most families are currently able to afford quality 3D printers for the home. Many families are worried about putting dinner on the table and where the next set of clothes are going to come from for growing children–not even considering putting technology into the home budget equation; however, almost all have a focus on seeing their kids graduate and find fulfilling, high-paying jobs.
The other element of taking 3D printing into schools is that someone has to instruct the kids on how to actually work the equipment. While enthusiasm levels are high and learning together as teacher and student is often a great way to watch projects evolve, there does need to be an organized structure and curriculum in order to see that education is getting the most bang for its buck when clearing out areas in the school and making way to build 3D printing labs, no matter the size.
Currently, both GoPrint3D and Teach Design are instrumental in dealing with all the facets regarding 3D printing in education, from accessibility to funding to support. Teach Design is a London-based company completely centered on education, as well as helping to fund STEM curriculums in schools, and has recently created Teach Design’s National 3D Printing Campaign. A partnership with GoPrint3D has just been announced, as they will be helping to push the campaign along, working to develop 3D printing for the classrooms as well as integrating them into learning institutions in the UK.
Twelve lucky London teachers responsible for design and technology courses, courtesy of the National 3D Printing Campaign, have just been handed BEEVERYCREATIVE commercial 3D printers. Provided by GoPrinting3D, they will also be handing all customer support issues, which as we’ve outlined above–is crucial to making one of these programs a success.
“This one year project beginning in July 2015 is funded by the Department for Education and seeks to create a portfolio of expert resources produced by expert teachers of 3D Printing,” states the Teach Design team. “Through an exciting partnership with BEEVERYCREATIVE, we have been able to donate 3D printers to schools across London.”
“Teach Design’s National 3D Printing Campaign aims also to raise funding for additional 3D printers and equipment in schools to support teachers in implementing new technologies,” states the Teach Design team on their news blog. “We are currently developing a new crowd funding platform, supported initially by the Mayor of London’s office.”
As 3D printing specialists who are highly experienced in providing as well as repairing and troubleshooting 3D printing technology, the team at GoPrint3D will be an extremely important part of the success in the campaign.
“Suppliers of 3D printing technology, and experts in their field, GoPrint3D have been chosen to partner in this campaign due to their strong emphasis on hands-on customer support, which will be relied on heavily by the project’s initial twelve teachers,” Sarah Blenkinsop, spokesperson for the project, told 3DPrint.com.
Founded in 2013 (as a subsidiary of Express Group, provider of 2D printer repair and spare parts to the UK for over 26 years), they are also a 3D printing service bureau and offer other professional services.
“Each teacher involved in the project will spend a year exploring the possibilities of 3D printers in schools, and will regularly blog about their experiences on the campaign’s website,” Blenkinsop went on to tell 3DPrint.com. “The desired outcome is a better understanding of 3D printing technology across the board, as well as a detailed exploration of the technology’s potential applications within the learning environment.”
The results will be reported at the end of the year, summing up what are sure to be the successes of the program, in the ‘3D Printing Guide for Design and Technology Education.’ The report will be available for all teachers and administrators so they can get a feel for what a 3D printing program would be like for their own schools should they decide to jump in feet first.
For many schools that purchase just a couple of 3D printers, they are left to figure out absolutely everything on their own from unpacking and often assembling the equipment, to navigating a learning curve, teaching, monitoring students, and then taking on the role of 3D printer tech specialists as well. The partnership between GoPrint3D and Teach Design should allow for comprehensive, seamless integration of 3D printing curricula into London schools.