Academic Communities

New 3D Printer Forum Lets Educators Share Ideas, Best Practices

A 3D printer maker has introduced a new education resource that encourages people to post their 3D printing ideas, lessons and design content online. Ultimaker, which produces three 3D printers, launched its new "Pioneer Program" community website with 58 educators. Teachers in K-12 and higher education share information on how to help students "scan and 3D print museum artifacts," explore the production of prosthetics for kids and "manage an open 3D-printing lab."

Members are expected to blog about their lessons, offer tutorials and write blog articles based on teaching experiences; their content is published under a Creative Commons license. In return, they'll be eligible for "future filament and hardware discounts"; personal promotion through social media channels; conference travel support; and beta-testing programs of software, hardware and materials. But ultimately, the program lets instructors network.

"Teaching 3D modeling and printing in our schools is a relatively new educational endeavor, and faculty are on the front lines, figuring out the best methods of teaching as we continue to learn about the topic ourselves," said Burton Isenstein, an adjunct assistant professor at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, in a prepared statement. "It's smart to tap into what's already happening in classrooms throughout the world, and the Ultimaker Pioneer Program will help educators build a base of knowledge upon everyone's experience."

"The greatest benefit of this program is the facilitation of collaboration and innovation amongst education professionals in the field of 3D design and manufacturing," noted Geoff Frankl, a technology coordinator for students in grades 7–12 at IvyTech Charter School in Moorpark, CA, in a prepared statement. "All of this will translate into modern curricula involving this burgeoning technology, the paramount goal of which will be transforming today's youth into tomorrow's well-trained and globally-competitive employee or entrepreneur."

The application for the new program is available through a Google Doc form here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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