Hey! Here is some good news: the Japanese government thinks it has to play catch-up to the United States in at least one area of manufacturing technology, 3D printers. After a lifetime of hearing about the supposed superiority of Japan in all things manufacturing--I’m driving a Subaru; how about you?--it’s great at last to find something about American manufacturing worth emulating.
Even more important, it’s great to realize that we Americans are doing something right in our schools--intending to furnish every single one of them with 3D printers. The determinative word in that last phrase is “intending;” we still have a long way to go before we can claim victory.
This wonderful new technology, as President Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union speech, “... has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America.” Of course the Japanese would prefer that the revolution start there!
To get their point across to the home audience, Japanese news crews even went to a North Carolina school district to film students working with 3D printers. They reported back to Japan how students in the U.S. schools enjoyed developing unique designs while they prepared--almost painlessly--for high tech jobs in the future; 3D printers, like robots are fun to work with and keep the kids engaged while they learn.
Other countries too, like the U.K. and Australia, are realizing the importance of this new “additive manufacturing” technology and racing to catch up with this country by introducing 3D printing technologies into their schools. Hopefully such initiatives in the United States as the Makerbot Academy will keep us ahead of the pack. The Makerbot Academy exists to furnish schools with affordable 3D printers by crowdfunding through DonorsChoose.org; all that educators have to do to get this technology into their own school rooms is register as recipients at Donorschoose. We here at RobotsLAB support the Makerbot Academy with a special 3D printer education package designed explicitly for classrooms called the STEM BOT 3D CLASS.
If Japan and other nations believe we are ahead of the curve on 3D printing technology in the schools, maybe we still have a chance at winning the revolution proposed by President Obama in 2013. But we haven’t won yet and we won’t win if we allow these other nations to forge ahead of us. Certainly if the governments of Japan, UK and Australia think putting 3D printers in schools is worthy of government support we can hope for more support from our government. American students need all the help we can give them. In the meantime, what we need are more initiatives like the Makerbot Academy, more donors to Donorschoose.org and more teachers willing to register for 3D printers for their classrooms. Get going guys!