“We are thrilled that MakerBot and America Makes are joining a growing coalition of citizens working to give American students the ability to design and make almost anything,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “As the President has said, we all need to think creatively about giving our young people the tools to be ‘the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.'”
Beginning in November of this year, individuals and corporations interested in helping get MakerBot desktop 3D printers in schools can visit DonorsChoose.org, a crowd funding site for teachers, and pledge to financially support the program. Teachers then register on DonorsChoose.org for a MakerBot Academy bundle.
MakerBot is contributing its own resources to launch this education initiative, along with key partners. Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, has personally pledged to put a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer in public high schools in MakerBot’s hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition, Ralph Crump, original inventor of FDM 3D printing technology and founder of Stratasys, has pledged his support.
“To get this done, we are going to have to do it together,” Pettis said.
Each MakerBot Academy bundle contains a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, three spools of MakerBot PLA Filament, and a full year of the MakerBot MakerCare Service and Protection Plan. MakerBot will also support the teachers with the development of ongoing 3D printing curriculum that teachers can participate in and utilize in the classroom. MakerBot will leverage Autodesk’s software and educator curriculum as well.
MakerBot is also launching a MakerBot Thingiverse Math Manipulatives Challenge. According to the company, Math Manipulatives are one of the most requested items on DonorsChoose.org and are an item that can easily be 3D printed in the classroom. The MakerBot Thingiverse website will hold a week-long design challenge, from November 12 through 18, 2013, for its members to quickly develop a variety of different math manipulative 3D designs that can then be available immediately to teachers that receive the MakerBot Academy 3D printing package.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.