From today until April 1, 2019, GE Additive will be accepting applications from primary and secondary schools for the 2019/2020 cycle of its Additive Education Program. Schools that are selected at the end of the application process will receive polymer 3D printers for the classroom as well as a plethora of educational 3D printing content.
GE’s Additive Education Program launched in 2017 with the aim of providing 3D printing solutions and educational curriculum to schools across the world. As part of the initiative, GE Additive pledged $10 million over five years to deliver polymer 3D printers to primary and secondary schools and more sophisticated metal AM systems to colleges and universities around the world.
So far, the AEP has donated over 1,400 polymer 3D printers to 1,000 schools in 30 countries, bringing the technology to over 500,000 young students. In 2018 alone, the educational program supplied polymer 3D printing packages to over 600 primary and secondary schools, while five universities were awarded metal AM systems.
For K-12 schools, the educational 3D printing packages include 3D printer hardware, software and STEM curriculum. The comprehensive bundles are designed for easy integration into the classroom and lessons are digestible for teachers as well as students who may not be well acquainted with the technology.
“An inquisitive student, discovering additive for the first time, formed the heart of our recent ‘Anything Factory’ brand campaign,” said Jason Oliver, President and CEO of GE Additive. “The purpose of our education program is to create moments like that, to inspire students like her, in classrooms all around the world. The sooner we put additive technology in the hands of the next generation of engineers, materials scientists and chemists, the sooner we can realize its potential.”
Overall, the goal of providing AM to elementary and high school students is to establish a foundation of knowledge for the technology from a young age. GE Additive adds that the program aims to build an ecosystem for 3D printing in education by networking students, printers and content via its Polar Cloud platform.
The web-based Polar Cloud platform offers access to tools, software and applications in a collaborative and secure environment. Schools selected in this cycle of the AEP will be awarded a Polar Cloud premium account, a Polar Cloud enabled 3D printer from either Dremel, Flashforge or Monoprice, filament as well as learning and Tinkercad software resources from Autodesk.
“This year’s education program will focus only on primary and secondary schools,” Oliver added. “The original purpose of our program is to accelerate awareness and education of 3D printing among students—building a pipeline of talent that understands 3D design and printing when they enter the workplace. We already enjoy some wonderful working relationships with universities and colleges, so this year we have decided to focus our efforts on younger students.”