Aug 16, 2016 | By Benedict

Ultimaker has announced the official launch of the Ultimaker Pioneer Program, an online resource-sharing initiative which encourages educators in North America to share useful 3D printing content in order to advance the widespread adoption of 3D printing technologies in K-12 and higher education.

Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker is perhaps best known for its range of highly regarded, open-source FDM 3D printers, but the company is branching out into new territory with the launch of the Ultimaker Pioneer Program. The new initiative sees the Geldermalsen-headquartered company attempting to increase the presence of additive manufacturing in classrooms and universities across North America by providing a platform for additive-literate teachers to share resources, knowledge, and other useful content while maintaining ownership of their materials through Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike, and Non-Commercial licensing.

The Ultimaker Pioneer Program has already made its way across 21 states, with 58 educators—from elementary school teachers to college professors—now listed amongst the ranks of educational 3D printing “Pioneers.” By encouraging these contributors to share resources such as 3D printing lessons, programs, labs, and classroom experiences, Ultimaker hopes that the ambitious program will facilitate collaboration and innovation amongst educators, eventually culminating into a series of modern curricula which teachers can use to effectively bring 3D printers into the classroom.

“Teaching 3D modeling and printing in our schools is a relatively new educational endeavor and faculty are on the front lines, figuring out the best methods of teaching as we continue to learn about the topic ourselves,” said Burton Isenstein, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. “It's smart to tap into what's already happening in classrooms throughout the world and the Ultimaker Pioneer Program will help educators build a base of knowledge upon everyone's experience.”

Ultimaker Pioneer Burton Isenstein of the School of The Art Institute of Chicago

Throughout the course of the year, Ultimaker will be posting an ongoing stream of 3D printing content from the inaugural 58 Pioneers, as well as other updates and educational 3D printing news. The program will also transcend online content: next spring, Ultimaker will host the First Annual 3D Printing Educators Conference, where many of the Pioneers will be present for talks, panel sessions, and hands-on training workshops.

In preparation for the start of the new school year, Ultimaker has featured five special articles, written by select Pioneers, which teachers can get stuck into straight away. The articles cover topics such as: teaching students how to 3D scan and print museum artifacts, creating 3D printed prosthetics, and seeing a university 3D printing lab from a student staff member’s perspective. “We're thrilled to facilitate this program, assisting in enhancing the way young generations create with technology,” commented John Kawola, President of Ultimaker North America.

Scanning and 3D printing museum arifacts, a Pioneer resource shared by Christopher Sweeney

As a proponent of open-source 3D printing technologies, Ultimaker should be commended for remaining principled in its creation of the Pioneer Program: the company has stressed that the educators and their resources will be supported “regardless of what kinds of 3D printers they use in their classrooms,” precluding any bias towards Ultimaker-branded products in the Pioneers’ content.

Although Ultimaker has never before embarked upon an educational project on this kind of scale, The Pioneer Program does not represent the company’s first movements within the education sector. Earlier this year, the Dutch company linked up with the University of Illinois and online education platform Coursera to provide 17 new Ultimaker 3D printers for the Illinois MakerLab and create a series of free online 3D printing classes.

Ultimaker is already looking to recruit the next round of Pioneers, and educators with a passion for 3D printing are encouraged to apply.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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