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3D printing a priority for schools, says Wanhao

By Shannon Williams, Mon 22 Jun 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

3D printers may become mandatory in New Zealand schools, if Wanhao New Zealand has its way. 

Wanhao New Zealand distributes Wanhao 3D printing products exclusively, and has entered partnerships with a number of New Zealand schools alongside Auckland College to offer a course in Sketch-Up, the industry standard design programme behind 3D printing.

The purpose of the partnerships is to offer teachers a fundamental knowledge of how to make objects and become qualified in 3D printing in order for them to pass the knowledge on to students.

“With the way the world is going, there is a need for more and more specialised skillsets and offering these to children at a young age can often allow them to have a greater understanding of how things work, especially when it comes to technology,” the company says.

“New Zealand has always been on the forefront of scientific achievement, from the great splitting of the atom by Rutherford or the invention of the eggbeater by Ernest Godward, along with numerous others,” it says. 

“We need to ensure that children have the opportunity to be amongst these greats and 3D printing can give this advantage to children across the country.”

After speaking to technology experts around the country, Wanhao says it was clear that offering a printer at discounted rates to schools wasn’t enough, as children needed the fundamental understanding of what 3D printing was, how to create their own designs and turn these into a reality.

Wanhao forecasts there will be tens of thousands of jobs within New Zealand within the next five years that require 3D printing, from advances in healthcare, engineering and industrial design. “New Zealand needs to ensure that every child has the ability to learn skills and abilities that relate to the changing world and job market,” it says.

“Within other countries numerous schools have begun teaching coding, programming and 3D printing to children at very junior levels as this is when the mind is at its most adaptable, meaning children are able to pick these skills up significantly easier than they would at a later age.”

Wanhao says the partnerships with New Zealand schools via Auckland Schools are providing them the opportunity to up skill and pass this knowledge on to their students. “The future is now and New Zealand cannot risk the chance of falling behind when it comes to having educational programmes that change the lives of students.”

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