Sep 8, 2016 | By Tess

The integration of 3D printers in the classroom has been a key part of promoting STEM education amongst younger generations. Of course, actually getting 3D printers in the class is only half the hurdle, as teachers and students must be able to use the machines in a productive and educational way to make the most of the emerging technology. Fortunately, efforts are being made to introduce kids to 3D printing in a multitude of ways, including learning 3D design, learning science principles through 3D printing, and more. Most recently, an Irvine, California-based startup has launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce its innovative Sightline Maps technology to classrooms around the world in the hopes that it will help teach kids about both digital fabrication and the world’s geography.

Sightline Maps, for those wondering, is a web-based platform that allows users to generate 3D models of any part of the globe, based on the most up-to-date GIS data. In other words, users can pinpoint any location on a map—from their home town to their favorite natural landmark—and have it automatically transformed into a 3D printable topographical model. The startup believes that having accurate topographical 3D models in the classroom could help students learn about the world in a more engaging and interactive way.

In fact, according to Sightline Maps, reception to their product has been overwhelmingly positive. “As we shared Sightline during its early development, nothing compared to seeing students and teachers interact with 3D models,” reads the Kickstarter campaign. The potentials of the technology were recognized by a number of teaching professionals, who saw a number of uses for it, such as showing historical geographic journeys to the students, or using it in science fair experiments.

To inspire teachers and students alike, the startup has also devised a number of lesson plans which it will be unveiling soon. These lesson plans show a variety of uses for the web-based platform in fields like art, geography, math, history, geology, and literature. Additionally, users won’t have to worry about navigating a complicated mapping system, as Sightline’s developers have made their platform as user-friendly as possible. To use the program you’ll simply have to enter or locate an area on the map, select the desired area with an easy to use rectangular selection tool, click the “Generate File” button, and then download the file which can be sent to any available 3D printer. Pretty simple, right?

The Kickstarter campaign, which was launched earlier today, is hoping to raise $40,000 by October 8th in order to bring Sightline Maps subscriptions to as many schools as possible. According to the startup, for every $100 the campaign raises, a year-long subscription for Sightline Maps will be given to a school, with up to 400 schools potentially benefitting from the scheme. If the funding goal is reached, the startup also plans to improve its mapping platform and add features like full-color models. In terms of rewards, backers can expect to receive their own 3D printed map model for a pledge of $50, a custom 3D printed map for $100, 5 custom models for $300, and so on. In addition to the 3D printed models, your pledge will be put towards funding the SIghtline Maps subscription for a school of your choice, anywhere in the world!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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