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.
The above quote is by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, following up on a statement by President Obama in his 2013 State of The Union speech where he said "3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America."
Today virtually everything we use has been manufactured by somebody else, somewhere other than where we are, and shipped to us at great expense. 3D printing can save all that wasted time and energy as well as manufacturing everything in a manner more in tune with our modern attempts to conserve natural resources by building-up an object one layer at a time rather than machining it down bit by bit, that same old method we humans have been using to make things since the first caveman discovered that chipping pieces of flint off a spearpoint would make it sharper. But we need many million more skilled workers before we can hope to revolutionize manufacturing and improve on that flint arrowhead; in order to get that done we need to make some adjustments in the classroom.
And while important officials in the federal government like President Obama are providing moral support for the proposition that The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America, it is for young, entrepreneurial private-sector individuals like Bre Pettis, chief executive of affordable, 3D-printer manufacturer Makerbot that are going to make this next industrial revolution in manufacturing actually happen!
How, you might ask, does Mr. Pettis plan to pull this off? His aim is to put a 3D printer in every U.S. public school! His vehicle? The Makerbot Academy with the help of crowdfunder Donorschoose.
Makerbot, said Mr. Pettis, has education in its DNA; Mr Pettis is a former teacher and says his company has one mission, to empower the next generation. He fervently believes that one of the best ways to do this is to make 3D printers easily accessible to every student in this country. No longer will kids expect things to be made for them; 3D printers can change the whole paradigm of how our children will see innovation and manufacturing in America."
In order to get his machines into every school, Mr. Pettis has forged a deal with crowdfunder Donorschoose.org. Any school and any teacher that wants one of these machines can go to Donorschoose and fill out a recipient request. Their petition is then listed on the site and Donors donate to one or all of the listed recipients.
It might take a while, but we here at RobotsLAB are firmly behind Mr. Pettis and his Makerbot Academy. While he is getting his Makerbots out there where they can do students the most good, we are offering our own paradigm-changing product, the STEM BOT 3D CLASS. This course was developed with Makerbots in mind and takes 3D printing to the next level by allowing students to manufacture their own robots, all the while adding exponentially to their STEM understanding and skills.
A new manufacturing revolution is on the horizon. The U.S. Government sees the advantages of this revolution (additive manufacturing aka 3D printing), and intends that this country should take the lead in that revolution. American entrepreneurs like Makerbot’s Bre Pettis with his Makerbot Academy and his intention of getting a 3D printer in every school is one of our best hopes for getting this done.