The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Schools Can Crowdfund a 3-D Printer

The maker of a 3-D printer wants to put its product in schools across the country and is asking everybody to pitch in. MakerBot Industries is offering a starter kit along with information on a crowdfunding site to help those interested pay the $2,550 cost of the kit.

The kit includes the MakerBot Republicator 2 printer, raw materials needed to get started, and a service plan from the company. Teachers must describe what they would do with the printer on the crowdfunding site, DonorsChoose.org, to raise all but $98, which must be raised offline.

Autodesk, the maker of 3-D design software, has already signed on to fund 500 projects, and Bre Pettis, one of the founders of MakerBot Industries, has made one of the largest individual donations DonorsChoose has ever received, according to a report in  Bloomberg Businessweek.

While skeptics might contend it’s a project clearly aimed at raising sales for MakerBot, Pettis said he’s doing it because subjects such as shop have been eliminated at many schools, which means students rarely make anything with their hands. Besides, he doesn’t really need the money since MakerBot Industries was purchased by Stratasys for $403 million in June.

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