For a few years now, MakerBot has made an effort to gear their 3D printers towards the education system, and have even found a few of their printers scattered in schools all around the world. But in the mountainy town of Montclair, New Jersey, their entire school distract has decided to put three MakerBot 3D printers in each school. The town, which has seven elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school, will evenly distribute a total of 27 MakerBot Replicators between each educational institution. Most of these printers were purchased at a discounted rate, while a handful of refurbished MakerBot printers were donated to the Montclair schools.
“To understand the profound impact 3D printing will have in Montclair, you have to envision the journey each student will take from elementary school to high school,” said Johan-Till Broer, the Public Relations Manager of MakerBot. “From an early age, students first learn 3D printing technology and take on simple printing projects. In middle school, students progress to learning CAD software, creating their own designs, and testing those designs through iterative prototypes.”
Before the Montclair school district and MakerBot partnered up, only a select few of the town’s students had access to 3D printing workshops, but still managed to show the school district the limitless potential that it beheld. The 10th grade STEM students from Montclair’s high school have already been working with engineers in order to design and 3D print functional objects such as drones and E-NABLE prosthetic devices.
What the Montclair school district hopes that by equipping all of their schools with MakerBot 3D printers, they can better prepare their students for college-level projects that include CAD design and 3D printing. The initiative will be overseen by Lynn English, a teacher from Montclair High School, and Dan Taylor, STEM Director for Mount Hebron Middle School, who will be hosting training sessions at the Picatinny Arsenal on CAD design (January 2016) and 3D printing (March 2016) in the upcoming year.
After these training sessions are completed, these Montclair-based teachers will go on to train the rest of their colleagues. In addition, the Montclair School District will also hold 3D printing and design summer camps for their students as well, making sure that the innovation stays alive and well through summer vacation. The MakerBot Replicator should act as a great introduction to 3D printing for these students and teachers alike, helping the students of Montclair, NJ, prepare for a potential career involving 3D printing and design.