Tinkerine is Canada’s premier 3D printing company for the development, production, and distribution of printers, software, and supplies in both the education and consumer markets. As part of their company’s educational outreach, they have announced an initiative designed to bring 3D printing curriculum to every school. They are calling their program: Tinkerine U.
The newly appointed Managing Director of Tinkerine U explained:
“We know that 3D printing in the classroom is the centerpiece to a comprehensive active learning approach, where students learn the problem solving skills to become the leaders of the future. As a company, Tinkerine remains committed to making 3D printing affordable and accessible to schools, teachers, and students anywhere in the world. Now, with Tinkerine U, we can ensure that these powerful technologies are also actually useful in every classroom and don’t just gather dust.”
As such, the U will offer online courses in 3D printing, lesson plans developed by educators, an extensive library of educational models, and extra-curricular 3D content. They are inviting schools to become educational partners and as incentive are offering an ‘Educational Package’ that includes a choice of 3D printer, as well as free access to course content and the education library.
Course listings for this fall include Introduction to 3D Printing part I, made up of a four part sequence designed to familiarize students with 3D printing technologies, preparing them “to participate in the 3D printing revolution and partake in the emerging economy of contribution.”
As have so many other 3D printing companies, Tinkerine has recognized the benefits of creating a class of 3D literate graduates. These are the future consumers of their technologies, and the group that will drive continued demand and new innovation within the field. They offer their own self-designed 3D printer, printer parts, laser cutting services, and Fused Filament Fabrication prototyping services. As 3D printing becomes a part of the way in which people interact with the world around them, their potential market grows and they prepare their future employees/partners.
Recognizing that the success of Tinkerine U relies on the classroom teachers implementing the curriculum, they have been careful to provide resources and assistance designed to make the integration of their technologies into the classroom as simple as possible. They have developed this suite of educational programs in cooperation with their partner Ready Labs, Inc., a content provider specializing in technology. The curriculum is first available in certain school districts in the United States and across Canada. There are long term plans to globalize the educational program as well.
Tinkerine’s partner, Ready Labs was co-founded with Simon Fraser University (SFU) which has over a decade’s worth of experience in the creation of interactive educational content. Dr. Mario Pinto, Vice President of Research at SFU stated that:
“Ready Lab’s collaboration with Tinerkine in this educational initiative reflects Simon Fraser University’s mission of ‘Engaging Students, Engaging Research, and Engaging Communities’ through cutting edge technology and research.”
It will be interesting to see whether initiatives such as this one survive beyond this first generation of user development, as competencies with these technologies become a more routine part of every person’s skills. This is most likely a reasonably short-term investment with long term benefits for everyone involved, and is an educational model where the benefits of public/private partnerships can lead to benefits for all. Discuss this great program in the Tinkerine U forum thread at 3DPB.com.