Tuesday, June 17, 2014

3D Printing is fun, but where is the curriculum?

3D printers seem to be popping up in schools all over, thanks in part to initiatives like Makerbot Academy.  However, not every teacher with a 3D printer in the classroom seems to know what to do with it.

UPDATE JULY 2014: Tinkerine U looks promising. You have to sign up but then presumably have access to their training guides, workshops, etc.

ORIGINAL POST: For a long time, the only curriculum I was aware of was SeeMeCNC's SeeMeEducate developed by a passionate high school teacher working with Orion's Delta Printers.  It is pretty cool, you can check it out here.

Since then, 3D Systems has gotten in the curricular resources game with Cubify Education, hoping to be your "one stop shop for tutorials, curriculum, projects and educational information, materials and resources."  While it seems to have a ways to go, there is some potential here if they can garner critical mass.

Makerbot is also sniffing around and looking to teachers to flesh out their educational resources network.

Then, SME (Formerly the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) and 3D Systems recently (6.11.14) announced their new M.Lab21 initiative.  Together, they hope to "bring school workshops into the 21st century with cutting-edge equipment."  3D Systems is providing materials for participating schools, which "feature the latest in 3D design and 3D printing technology, including the Sense 3D scanner, the Touch haptic and prosumer desktop 3D printers, in addition to a suite of Cubify 3D design software [including Sculpt, Invent, and Design."  By mid-summer 2014, the M.Lab21 project hopes to have secured eight industry advisers who can provide leadership and guidance though the development process.

Also launched recently, Printrbot Learn is another initiative sponsored by Printrbot and run by teachers.  They, too, need to build a community, but I really do believe Brook Drumm, founder, has his heart in the right place and has always been a supporter of getting 3D printing into the hands of kids.
We believe that learning should be hands on. We believe that kids should solve real problems using real tools. We believe every kid should be a designer, a maker and an inventor. We believe that kids should Learn by Making.
Headed by teachers, Josh Ajima and Clarence Fisher, Printrbot Learn intends to host tutorials and lesson plans (and contests!) for teachers to implement the technology in their classrooms.

And, of course, the first book has just been released, The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success by David Thornburg (and more).  I just picked up a copy and look forward to reading it.

Here are some other resources you can check out if you are interested in learning more about how educators are already using 3D printing in their classrooms:

What are some of your favorite 3D printer curricular resources?


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  2. I just started a blog and will soon start uploading youtube tutorials as well:

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