Desktop 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot has launched a new certification program aimed at promoting 3D printing in education. The initiative, called MakerBot Certification Program for Students, is designed to give middle and high school students a foundational knowledge about 3D design and 3D printing.
As a manufacturer of popular desktop 3D printers, MakerBot’s machines are already being used in thousands of classrooms across the United States. According to the company, it has installed over 7,000 3D printers in classrooms from grades K through 12. Across the industry, desktop 3D printer manufacturers and software developers are creating platforms to facilitate the integration of 3D printers into schools to enhance STEM and STEAM learning.
Still, there are hurdles in this adoption process, as MakerBot believes there are still many students that are going through their education without the critical skills for 3D printing that will adequately prepare them for future careers.
“We recognized very early on that teachers needed more than just a 3D printer; they needed a learning tool,” explained Nadav Goshen, CEO of MakerBot. “As a result, we developed a full line of offerings for educators, including the MakerBot Certification Program for Educators, launched in April 2018. Following the success of the program, teachers wanted a similar program for their own students.
“We are excited to announce the MakerBot Certification Program for Students to provide them with 3D printing skills training. This program will not only help them to develop critical thinking skills and how to innovate with a MakerBot 3D printer but also enable educators to integrate 3D printing into their curriculums further.”
The certification program for students consists of content developed by design education professionals and 3D printing experts. The aim is to provide the tools to learn the fundamentals of 3D printing and 3D design so that students can flex their creativity and problem solving skills. The program is also aimed at giving students more confidence in the operation of a MakerBot 3D printer, helping them to apply advanced 3D printing skills for a range of projects.
The program itself is made up of four comprehensive course modules, each of which focuses on a key element of design thinking or 3D printing. They four courses are:
- 3D Printer Operator: aimed at teaching students how to set up and manage a MakerBot 3D printer, create first prints and troubleshoot common issues.
- Design Thinking: aimed at teaching students how to solve real-world design challenges using critical problem-solving skills including observation, ideation and design.
- Applied Design Thinking: aimed at teaching students how to build on the fundamental Design Thinking skill set and approach projects with creative problem-solving skills.
- Design for 3D Printing: aimed at turning students into MakerBot 3D printing experts and teaching how to apply advanced 3D printing skills for building exceptional models.
“The MakerBot Certification Program for Educators has allowed me to expand my 3D printing curriculum,” said Jennifer Renne, Modeling and Simulation Instructor, Landstown High School Governor’s STEM & Technology Academy. “I have been able to easily explain how 3D printers work to my students, giving them control to manage their own prints and take responsibility for what they are designing and creating. By having my students involved in this process, they will see that 3D printing is more than just making toys and fun gadgets; it is about understanding how 3D printers work and how it is applicable in a variety of industries.”
The new certification module will complement MakerBot’s existing educational ecosystem, which encompasses the MakerBot Educators Guidebook, the Thingiverse Education community, its range of user-friendly 3D printers and the aforementioned MakerBot Certification Program for Educators (ISTE-approved).
With the MakerBot Certification Program for Students, schools will also be given access to the educator program, enabling teachers and students to learn together to create a fertile learning environment for STEM and STEAM subjects. When the four courses of the program have been completed, students will receive a special award in the form of an .STL file they can 3D print themselves.
Registration for the new MakerBot Certification Program for Students is expected to begin on July 1, 2019.