By Phil Cotton, Learnbylayers founder and teacher.
Today, I am pleased to announce that I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing in Ireland, has distributed learnbylayers packs to assist schools with teaching 3D printing. I-Form is on a mission to ‘shape the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing’. I-Form has a strong public engagement programme that aims to address the widening skills gap in engineering and advanced manufacturing. As part of this, I-Form is supporting local schools in exploring 3D printing. With schools around the world integrating the technology into the curriculum, it’s not uncommon for local businesses and universities to engage in ‘outreach’ initiatives to help drive education forward.
I-Form supporting education
I-Form recently assisted with a cluster of schools that were successful with applying to the GE additive manufacturing program for schools. This initiative allowed schools to apply for free 3D printers to use in their schools. To date the program has awarded machines to over 600 schools in 30 countries with the aim being to ‘accelerate the awareness of additive manufacturing among students’ and will have helped hundreds of thousands of children around the world.
I-Form has supported the rollout of learnbylayers to a cluster of schools in Ireland, who are starting out with 3D printing and were successful in the GE program. The lessons were distributed as part of the SFI-funded ‘Shaping Your Future’ programme, in partnership with fellow Irish research centre IMR. With the lesson resources being aimed at ages 10 – 18, teachers can integrate the lessons in all years at school, allowing for maximum impact in the classroom across multiple school years.
Earlier in the year I visited I-Form in Dublin and got to meet the team. I was highly impressed by the impact they have made and with their plans for supporting education in Irish schools, particularly with the planned rollout of teacher training workshops in 2020/2021. Investing in education at grassroots level will pay dividends for the future workforce and allow students to be exposed to the latest emerging technology.
Additive manufacturing in Ireland
With I-Form being a national leader in 3D printing and supporting local schools in Ireland, this will have a massive impact upon 3D printing education for school children and help prepare them for Industry 4.0. With 3D printing making its way into almost every sector of manufacturing, supporting schools with implementation is vital to the future of manufacturing and preparing children for jobs that don’t exist yet. Exciting times for 3D printing in Ireland.
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