From 3ders.org. Great to see the government worldwide supporting the new technologies in school and enabling the future to experience it all first hand from a young age.

Over the past few years, calls for 3D printers in schools have been getting increasingly louder, though so far it has mostly been the efforts of individual science teachers that brought educational 3D printing courses to some students. Fortunately, more and more local governments and schoolboards are waking up to the necessity of keeping children up to date on the latest technologies. The latest education provider to take this important step is the State of South Australia. Their Minister for Education and Child Development, Susan Close, has just announced that the government will provide educational 3D printers to 28 schools across South Australia.

As the minister explains in a press release, this is all part of an effort to integrate the latest technologies into classroom teachers and is part of a wider trend to foster interest in STEM fields. Previously, the government has pushed for making coding lessons more prominent, for instance.

This time, the 3D printing pilot program in South Australia will focus on 28 different schools spread out across the Adelaide metropolitan area and the Limestone Coast, and is financed with a $40,000 AUD subsidy. It will also train teachers in using 3D printers ahead of the first semester featuring 3D printers in 2016. It is financed through a partnership featuring the State Department for Education and Child Development and the companies Datacom Systems and Maker’s Empire, of which you might know the latter as a developer of 3D printing software, including for educational purposes. The program will also set up a feedback platform through which schools can share insights, educational programs and evaluations to increase the program’s potential.

According to Minister Susan Close, it is very important to get children familiar with the latest technology when they’re still young. “A program like this engages our primary students in exciting ways to develop their future skills and knowledge,” she said. “These young children are being given an early introduction to the possibilities that this type of advanced manufacturing technology allows. 3D technology really is the way of the future and by putting printers into classrooms for students to utilise, we are helping to provide pathways to 21st century careers.”

This echoes convictions we’ve frequently heard. With 3D printing, as we have seen for ourselves, steadily invading a wide variety of sectors from automotive engineering to biomedical innovation, kids with an intuitive understanding of the technology have a huge head start already. It’s like us being taught basic computer skills when we were kids. “There are so many ways to incorporate 3D technology into learning, and schools will be linking the program to various subjects, in particular with STEM subjects,’ the Minister explained “I believe this program will have a positive impact on student learning by developing problem-solving and design skills and becoming familiar with the use of modern technologies.”

If successful, this pilot is already set to be expanded to include more primary schools across South Australia, depending on the learning outcomes. Here’s a full list of the schools that will be included in the pilot program:

Metropolitan schools

  • Brahma Lodge Primary
  • Christie Downs Primary School
  • Elizabeth Downs Primary School
  • Gulfview Heights Primary School
  • Highbury Primary School
  • Keller Road Primary School
  • Modbury Preschool – Year 7
  • Paralowie R-12 School
  • Salisbury Downs Primary School
  • Salisbury Heights Primary
  • Salisbury Park Primary School

Country Schools – Limestone Coast

  • Compton Primary School
  • Glenburnie Primary School
  • Glencoe Primary School
  • Kalangadoo Primary School
  • Kingston Community School
  • Kirinari Kindergarten
  • Lucindale Area School
  • Melaleuca Park Primary School
  • Millicent North Primary School
  • Moorak Primary School
  • Mount Burr Primary School
  • Mount Gambier North Primary School
  • Mulga St Primary School
  • Nangwarry Primary School
  • Penola Primary School
  • Reidy Park Primary School
  • Yahl Primary School