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MakerBot Academy Promotes 3D Printers in the Classroom

A program introduced in November 2013 to put 3D printers into classrooms has already attracted 1,000 schools. The latest is California's Oakland High School, which is receiving its first MakerBot Replicator 2 this week, a result of participation in MakerBot's Academy program.

The program invites teachers to post their request onto DonorsChoose to pursue contributions for an "academy bundle." The bundle includes the printer, a technical support program and three spools of non-toxic filament. Support comes from America Makes, a national public-private collaboration working on research and innovation in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

  MakerBot's Academy program asks educators to create a request on DonorsChoose to raise funds for academy bundles.
MakerBot's Academy program asks educators to create a request on DonorsChoose to raise funds for academy bundles.

The Oakland school received a boost from local pro basketball team the Golden State Warriors. Currently, 25 other projects are seeking funding between $2,400 and $2,700 through the academy program. Among the projects are Sapulpa High School in Oklahoma, where a teacher is hoping use of the new printer to create robotic parts will spur his students to pursue STEM degrees, and Alabama's Sweet Water High School, where a teacher said he hopes to use the MakerBot to help his world history students build models of ancient historical sites.

"As a former teacher, I believe strongly in creating a new model for innovation. A MakerBot is a manufacturing education in a box," said Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. "We need to encourage our teachers and our youth to think differently about manufacturing and innovation. When you have a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer, you see the world differently. Instead of waiting for someone to create a product for you, you can create your own. It changes the whole paradigm of how our children will see innovation and manufacturing in America."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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