"Makers Empire is easy to use software for 3D modeling, design and printing on tablets, Macs and PCs. The app itself is free, but additional features are not. Ideally, a school licenses Makers Empire. Doing so only provides access to clever and intuitive 3D design software, but an ecosystem that helps keep track of student projects. Normally, we are uncomfortable with dashboard systems that allow adults to track, measure, or surveil students, but if you ignore the instructionist gamification and assessment aspects of the Makers Empire system, having all the files that need to be 3D printed in one place can be a practical godsent. The software is worthy of consideration if you focus on student creativity, rather than prizes and grades."
Gary Stager & Sylvia Martinez
Authors of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom
I have been teaching 3D printing for the past 3 years in my elementary science methods course. I was awarded a small grant that was enough to purchase a 3D Printer (Makerbot Mini Replicator). Recently, I discovered Makers Empire and started the free trial. I was amazed at the results! Here are my main take-aways after using Makers Empire.
1. User-friendly for elementary-age children! I offered very little training compared to other 3D printing software and it was super easy for children to navigate, design, and begin creating. I also like that Makers Empire offers a student-friendly app - perfect for young children.
2. Teacher Dashboard- The teacher Dashboard is perfect for setting up and managing a class of students. It's easy to assess their designs and works well with my Makerbot Software. Downloading files was quick, easy, and problem-free.
3. Fabulous customer service! I have been impressed with the follow-up emails and genuine desire for feedback. A big part of the design process is 'improvement' and Makers Empire seems to be committed to improving their product to meet the needs of educators and children. "
Jennifer Troncale, Lecturer, Jacksonville State University
"I have been doing 3D design and printing for about four years. I have used many programs including Sketchup, 123dDesign and Tinkercad. I am always looking for new programs and ran across Makers Empire when searching for 3D programs and ideas… I immediately was interested in the idea of a curriculum and being able to have classes… I signed up for the trial first and fell in love with the format… I also loved the different areas that the students could explore and that they could work at home as well. It is very engaging and my students love it! I like that I can set challenges and that they can also follow the challenges from the curriculum. The interface is very easy and the students can master it quickly. I like all the things students can do such as monthly contests and the game zone. Being able to design in a 3D environment is key to their computer studies as they progress through the grades. They love designing in the 3D world. I think it is a skill that will be important to them as they grow. It inspires their creativity and put their ideas into reality. They have gained confidence in their creative abilities and their perseverance increased as well.”
Ruth Hanson, Lower School Educational Technologist
Duchesne Academy, Texas
We first began designing using Tinkercad, a terrific CAD program and widely accepted by schools. Some of my older students were able to grasp the mechanics of designing things but that’s all it was, designing things. It had no connection to what we were learning and studying in school. It was isolated and, to be honest probably more trouble than it was worth. I hadn’t found a way to connect this great tool to the needs of my students... I had been searching the blogs and chat groups looking for resources to teach the curriculum when I discovered the Makers Empire software... Clicking on their website and watching a few tutorials I immediately could tell I had found something special. There was something simplistic to Makers Empire’s approach of complex design. The website offered video tutorials, downloadable resources, and an iPad friendly interface... It took me a while, but what I finally realized was that 3D printing and design is not what I am teaching, but rather how I am teaching... Sure, there are technical skills that both the teacher and students need in order to make a design and have it print out correctly but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Makers Empire software allows kids to express themselves and to show what they have learned in the other realms of the curriculum.
Christopher Burdman, STEM Teacher
Tynan Elementary School, Boston
“Makers Empire is a more student-friendly version of TinkerCAD for your primary kids. It’s so much easier and there are games to teach the kids how to design and how to manoeuvre the build plate… TinkerCAD, Sketchup – they are all for upper grades.”
Robin McGinnis, North/South/Jr. High Lead Teacher – STEAM
Mount Healthy City School District, Ohio
“...when I started using Makers Empire with the kids they really took to it. I think that we had 5,000 designs within a month’s time! I had seven classrooms at the school using it. And I had other teachers saying, ‘I really want to get in on this. I want to try this with our kids,’... Clearly, Makers Empire was a hit!... What is really nice about Makers Empire is it’s the first time that the students are actually creating something (original). We’ve had a 3D printer and stuff going on four or five years now. Previously, the students didn’t really create (anything) original... But with Makers Empire, when they were all finished, each student had all of these different unique creations... I feel like Makers Empire is a game changer for 3D design for our kids. There’s a lot of software out there but Makers Empire has incorporated so many different features. With the challenges and then the tutorials built in, no one else has that."
Karie Huttner, K-5 Educational Technology Coach
Verona Area School District, Verona
"The students love it. They picked it up very quickly. Now, they are better at it than I am!"
Colleen Small, Media Specialist
Groveland Elementary School, Minnesota
"(Makers Empire) is another avenue that allows me to incorporate STREAM into my daily lessons. It adds another layer to the curriculum allowing us to dive deeper into the curriculum from a different standpoint – 3D printing... Makers Empire excites students. They love working with it and look forward to it... (it) allows students to feel successful if they do not feel successful in other areas. It is nice to see students who do not typically excel academically feel success... I love that the kids love it and that they are able to create and design in such a fashion.”
Lisa Hatton, Teacher
Maplewood Intermediate School, New York
From the beginning, the students had no trouble. They absolutely loved it... The students' favorite part was going from the computer screen to something they can hold in their hand...It’s always better if you can give students an authentic reason to communicate."
Sandra Wiseman, Library Media & Technology Integration Specialist
Woodsdale Elementary School, West Virginia
“Though I plan to expand to other classes in the future, I predominantly use Makers Empire with my Science classes. I give students parameters and allow them to go through the Engineering Design Process. In Science classes, students have created plant and animal cells, aircraft, and aliens for classification... Since students have a variety of eye conditions and useable sight, we have had to become creative in using Makers Empire. Some students pair up together to share strengths. Some prefer using the iPad with zoom, while others prefer using the computer with or without assistive technology features like zoom, JAWS, and/or Fusion. Some students like using Makers Empire on the SmartBoard and others like to team up with a teacher and describe ideas... Our students really excel with 3D models, but using a 2D method to create 3D is a challenge for students... though Makers Empire is more geared towards students that are middle school and younger, I find that my students with Visual Impairments of all ages are able to use it because it is a bit easier to use with fewer complicated pieces that add to the visual distractions.”
Erin Barr, Teacher
Montana School for the Deaf and the Blind, Montana
"I loved that (Makers Empire) had built-in learning experiences for kids and that I could see their progress without having to touch their devices. The fact that it also had built in lessons with videos and standards was also a bonus... the challenges as you are setting up the account are great to let kids get their feet wet in the app... Students used Makers Empire during a party station and LOVED it… they then asked to stay in at recess to do more of it and skip(ped) the other stations of the party."
Amy Otis, Classroom Teacher
Glacier Edge Elementary School, Verona
"I haven’t started using Makers Empire yet as my class is on summer holidays until the end of January. However, my own children have used it at their school and they love it. It’s engaging and allows them to be innovative and imaginative. I’m looking forward to using it myself when I get the chance next year in my own class."
Kate, Elementary School Teacher
"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your session and learning about Makers Empire. Your product is easy to use and beautifully designed. I think teachers are going to love it!"
Los Angeles County Office of Education, California
“I am so much better prepared and motivated to tackle our 3D printer dilemma. I am so glad you clarified that the goal is not necessarily to print but to be creative, have the kids explore and problem solve... This makes so much more sense. Of course, we will have a printing party to inaugurate our new journey through the Design Thinking Process in Makers Empire, but we will focus on having the kids grow into becoming better designers and problem solvers. Thank you!!!"
"I was trying to start 3D printing in our school for a while, but I found it very difficult to start from nothing. I needed a lot of resources and easy access to resources. This program has provided everything that I needed. It was wonderful!... All of my students learned how to use Makers Empire design software during my STEM classes. I used Makers Empire lessons: “Let’s Get Decorated” with 5th-8th grade students and “Mazes” with 8th grade students. They all loved learning about 3D printing... I enjoyed teaching this, observing their enjoyment, learning and looking at their awesome designs,"
Meltem Albayrak DiLeo, Teacher
Holy Trinity Catholic School, Pennsylvania
"Software is great, very user friendly... Kids loved it."
Bryan Couts, Technology Teacher
Titusville Middle School, Pennsylvania
"This has been a wonderful new way to teach and motivate my students. They are so eager and excited to learn in this new way!... They are beginning to see real-life implications to what they learning to do in class and how they could develop prototypes of objects that they could develop and then produce to sell... At first, I preferred Tinkercad because I knew this software better. However, now that I have had some time to work with Makers Empire it is so much better. It does a much better job of showing you how to build and create. The challenges help tremendously!...The overall enthusiasm towards school and learning has increased tremendously. Students who are typically reluctant learners have come to life. One student was chronically absent and has now improved his attendance. He asks me each morning if he can get on the computer!"
Robin McGinnis, District Gifted Education Presenter
Mt. Healthy City School System, Ohio, USA
"I have worked with several design software but Makers Empire is the easiest to use... One of the best things students learned is that it is okay to not get the "right" answer the first time, or second time. Students know that "failing" is part of the design process and problem solving. Students have expanded their problem solving skills to think more outside of the box... Before, my students were limited in their STEM applications and designs due to financial issues and materials available. Now each student is able to have an account for their designs and can work at their pace which is meeting them on their individual need. Through this, my after school STEM club has gained interested to where students had to be put on a waiting list. Students have discussed participating in STEM clubs in middle school and high school as well as more interest in engineering type careers."
Casey Corn, STEM Teacher
Chesnee Elementary School, South Carolina
“I use Makers Empire to enhance students’ ability to demonstrate understanding across a wide range of topics. As we work through different curriculum, including geometric shapes, things we’re scared of, plants and insects, and engineering design challenges, students create 3D models related to the content… We use the app to create 3D products that are printed as well as those that are not, but still viewed in 3D on the iPads.”
Jennifer Auten, 2nd Grade Teacher
Mont Claire Elementary School, California
"I love Makers Empire software. It is great to use with elementary age students... I love teaching students how to design for 3D printing. It’s so fun watching them problem solve to create a certain shape by adding or taking away."
Karen Owen, Technology Teacher
Grace Christian Academy, Tennessee
“The software has lesson plans based on many state standards with many modules to choose from. Maker’s Empire can be used to teach science, math and even art, K-12. The 3D-printing course was not as challenging as the grade level I was given — first graders!... However, their enthusiasm and absolute thirst for knowledge is awesome to see. They blaze through the challenging 3D lesson plans… Seeing the students faces when the IT team at BPY brings the 3D prints to the classroom is just something I can’t describe. The best part is while walking in the hallway with the huge iPad cart, some eighth graders ask who made that. I point to the first graders, who grin ear to ear.”
Shneur Garb, Teacher
Ben Porat Yosef Yeshiva Day School, New Jersey, USA
“I’m sending you the very best wishes and enormous gratitude for connecting our students with your learning program. To say this purchase has been transformative might sound like an exaggeration but it’s pretty darn close to the truth."
Mary Bongiovanni, Director of Design Thinking
Pace Academy, Georgia
"The lesson plans provide authentic learning experiences that help our teachers integrate 3D printing and encourages our students to print with a purpose. We appreciated that the Makers Empire trainers were dedicated educators, with former classroom teaching experience. They helped our teachers understand how to use the printers and program but most importantly how to thoughtfully integrate the application in the classroom."
Dr Andrew A Taylor, Director of Technology
Byram Hills Central School, New York
"My department was searching for applications and curriculum that would align to the common core standards. We found reference to [Makers Empire] on the web and reached out to see if what they were doing would meet our needs... We were impressed that they were addressing the use of 3D printing not simply as an endpoint but as a true curriculum enabling tool. We simply had not found anyone else doing the work required to create quality educational activities... The New York State Teacher Centers and the New York Institute of Technology have been working with Makers Empire on what has turned out to be a transformational pilot with New York State Schools... The Makers Empire pilot has provided the beacon for schools to follow that are opening opportunities for students that simply were not on the table before the pilot."
Professor Stan Silverman, Director
NYIT Technology Based Learning Systems, New York, USA.