600 Schools in the 2018 GE Additive Education Program Off To A Great Start!

Recent research shows the compelling learning benefits that can be achieved for students and teachers with 3D printing in the primary school classroom. 3D technology creates a fun, hands-on experience for students with cutting edge technology while positioning them as as creators, inventors and engineers. Through the Design Cycle, students learn how to solve real-world problems with 3D printing and design and to reframe challenges as actionable statements.

Unfortunately, not every school has the resources needed to access this exciting technology. So we’re happy to be partnering again with Polar 3D and GE to deliver the GE Additive Education Program in 2018. Together, we are providing access to 3D technology and curriculum to 600 elementary, middle and high schools around the world! Read on to learn more about the program and the schools involved.

Introduction to the GE Additive Education Program

GE Additive has made a significant financial commitment over five years to invest in educational programs to deliver polymer 3D printers to primary and secondary schools and metal 3D printers to colleges and universities.

Over the past two years, the GE Additive Education Program has donated over 1,000 polymer 3D printers to schools in 30 countries, providing access to technology and curriculum to more than 400,000 students.

For K-12, primary and secondary schools, the program is building an ecosystem for 3D printing in education by networking students, machines and content via online platform, the Polar Cloud. Educators and students from participating schools join the Polar Cloud to access tools, software and applications in a collaborative and secure environment.

The GE Additive Program 2018 Cycle

The GE Additive Education Program’s (AEP) 2018 cycle awarded 3D printing package to more than 600 primary and secondary schools in 30 countries who did not previously have access to 3D printing technology. Each package includes 3D printing hardware, software and science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum including Makers Empire!

More than 3,000 primary and secondary schools from more countries applied to participate in the AEP’s 2018 cycle. This year the five countries with the most recipients are: the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.

Schools in this year’s program were given either the Dremel 3D45 or the Flashforge Inventor II (below). Both of these printers are excellent additions to the K-12 classroom.

Enhancing Learning: Using 3D Printing at an Authentic Teaching Tool

While it’s wonderful for a school to have access to a 3D printer, it takes more than just having a printer for it to have real impact. Teachers and students need to understand how to use that 3D printer to enhance learning.

As a part of the GE Additive Education Program, schools also have access to curriculum and design tools that make this technology accessible to even the youngest learners – this is where Makers Empire comes in!

We are so happy to be supporting each of these 600 schools to join the Makers Empire community. Through Makers Empire teachers gain access to 3D printing lesson plans and curriculum while students gain access to a super fun and easy to use 3D design app.

Although the program has only just begun, students in the GE AEP have already created more than 30,000 designs using Makers Empire! Check out some of them below:


Becoming Creators: What Schools Hope to Achieve with the GE AEP

The GE AEP for 2018 has only just begun, with most schools receiving their 3D printer in just the last couple weeks. Tackling this new tech takes some awesome educators who are willing to try new things along side their students!

From getting the printer set up to planning new lessons the educators who are a part of the GE AEP are fantastic. They have great ideas to how they will implement 3D printing into their classroom this year.

We asked a few of the teachers in this year’s program what they hope to accomplish:

“I hope the students come up with potentially real solutions to real problems. Locally, regionally, and even globally. I hope (and believe) 3D printing and design can and will support my students develop their empathy and global awareness.” – Ferry Elementary

“I would love the students to use the printer to create something that provides a solution to a problem, or allow them to take action on an issue they have inquired into.” – Berwick Primary School

“We hope to have all staff upskilled in 3D Design & Printing and engage 100% of our students in 3D printings challenges, with the intention of linking design tasks with units of study being undertaken in class.” – Cringila Public School

“I’m hoping to make some robotics parts for use with Arduinos (older students), and younger students to make things like name tags or small ‘toys’ they have designed.” – Turramurra Public School

“Our ultimate goal is for our students to design and create items to solve problems in our school, at home, and in our community. We want them to see the possibilities and opportunities that 3D printing can bring. That it is more than just printing toys, but designing items that can make an impact on our lives. We are so excited that we were chosen for this opportunity and the impact it will have on our school.” Robert J. Burch Elementary

We are thrilled to be part of the GE Additive Education Program again this year. It’s wonderful to be able to give these schools access to 3D technology and make it easy for them to use by providing access to the Polar Cloud and Makers Empire. We’ll be sharing regular updates about the learning achieved by the schools in this year’s GE AEP so stay tuned for more!

About the Author

Jeanette McConnell, Ph.D. is a passionate educator with a strong scientific background. She earned a bachelors degree in biochemistry at San Diego State University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of NSW. Throughout her studies, she tutored her fellow students. Her experience presenting science shows and workshops to children convinced her of the value of a hands-on education. She believes Makers Empire is the way to make learning hands-on and harness the power of 3D printing technology in education.


Makers Empire helps K-8 teachers teach Design Thinking and STEM/STEAM concepts and implement maker pedagogy in the classroom using 3D design and 3D printing. Our pioneering 3D solutions for schools include 3D modelling software, over 130 curriculum-aligned lesson plans, a teacher’s dashboard for easy class management, professional development for teachers and ongoing support. Makers Empire is used by thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students in Australia, the USA, Asia and Europe. Join us.

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