In May, we covered a new app for the iPad and Android that seeks to make 3D modeling and 3D printing easy and accessible. By combining a simple modeling tool with a touch screen interface, Maker’s Empire hopes to get users young and old to create into the new technology. Since the app’s release, the Australian company behind Maker’s Empire has increased its efforts to aid young students get a handle on 3D printing early with a new school program called Lighthouse.
Three schools in Australia have adopted the Lighthouse Program as a means of preparing primary school students for the workforce that awaits them down the line. Schools will use the 3D modeling and printing app in parallel with a curriculum developed by Maker’s Empire to teach students how to model and 3D print objects for a variety of purposes.
The company’s CEO, Jon Soong, said of the new program, “We’re thrilled to have these three schools as founder members and look forward to working with the students and teachers to place education technology where it should be – at the forefront of primary school education. Over the coming 12 months, we are confident that, together, we will not only achieve real educational outcomes in the classroom with our 3D Design App and Lesson Plans for schools aligned with the Australian National Curriculum, but will foster closer working relationships between industry and these school communities.” He added, “Best of all, it’s just so easy – and so much fun, especially when the students experience the magic that comes with seeing their creations come alive in 3D printing.”
At the moment, those not involved in the Lighthouse Program can see a sample lesson plan via the Maker’s Empire site. This first lesson introduces students to 3D printing and guides them through the 3D printing of their first object. Over the course of a year, students will build on that foundation to construct more elaborate models that can be 3D printed, giving them a head start on modeling and additively manufacturing complex objects.
Some of the schools that have already signed up for the program previously participated in a series of pilot classes with Maker’s Empire and took a liking to the app and the technology. Prinicpal of North Adelaide Primary School, Steven Marshall explains how joining the new program made perfect sense, “North Adelaide Primary School is delighted to be involved in the Maker’s Empire 3D Printing project. This is the next step for us in our innovative thinking and learning community. The engagement of the students in the Pilot with Maker’s Empire in April was wonderful and the learning experience in design and 3D printing was very worthwhile. We look forward to expanding on the learning through our extended involvement with Maker’s Empire.”
The other schools participating so far are Scotch College Adelaide and Westminster School. Grant Block, Head of Preparatory School at Westminster School, which also participated in the pilot (video above), explains how he sees the students benefiting from the program, “There is no doubt it is exciting for our Year 7 students to test and provide feedback to the Maker’s Empire team on their new Lighthouse Program for design and 3D printing. Based on our involvement as a Lighthouse School, we see that students could use the design and printing app as a valuable tool to solve problems of an engineering nature. Consequently, we are discussing its inclusion as a challenging and stimulating learning opportunity in our upper primary curriculum. This would also effectively prepare students wishing to further their knowledge in this area when they enter secondary school.”
Right now, only the three schools from the Land Down Under are taking part, but it may be possible that Maker’s Empire will expand to other countries, as well. For now, those from the Lands Up Over can download the app and begin planning their own curricula.