GE Additive has marked an important milestone through its Additive Education Program: over one million students have benefited from the program since its launch in 2017. To date, a total of 2,001 schools in 36 countries (for a total of roughly 1,296,500 students) have participated in the AEP, which aims to bring 3D printing technologies and education to students of all ages.
Now in its third cycle, the GE Additive Education Program has granted polymer 3D printing packages to 982 primary and secondary schools across 23 countries. Through this round, 3D printing will reach approximately 793,000 students. The top five countries to receive 3D printers in the 2019/2020 cycle of the AEP are the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.
GE Additive first announced the AEP in 2016, when it pledged $10 million over five years to support two educational programs centered on 3D printing technologies. The AEP aims to establish an ecosystem within schools that will enable young students to learn the basics of 3D printing. In short, the program accepts submissions from schools around the world and selects a number of recipients in each cycle. The selected schools then receive 3D printing hardware, software, STEAM curriculum and access to educational content through the Polar Cloud.
The overall aim of the program is to develop a pipeline of future talent in additive manufacturing. In other words: exposing students to the technology at a young age to instil a fundamental knowledge of the process and set certain students off on a direction of learning more about the technology.
Much of the initial $10 million investment will go towards subsidizing metal additive manufacturing systems for colleges and universities around the world. Still, the company has made a significant impact bringing desktop additive manufacturing to over one million primary and secondary students.
Participating members of the GE AEP will be given premium access to the Polar Cloud online platform and receive either a Dremel Digilab 3D45 or Monoprice Voxel 3D printer along with filament, STEAM curriculum and lesson plans from STEAMtrax and Tinkercad.
Schools will also have access to a School Store on the Polar Cloud platform, where students can showcase and sells their 3D models, with all proceeds going to the school. The 2019/2020 cycle of the AEP launched in March 2019. Applications were accepted until April 1. According to GE Additive, over 3,500 applications were received, marking a significant increase from last year’s cycle.