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China Education Printer Technology

Report: Chinese Government Plans To Put 3D Printers In All Elementary Schools 99

InfiniteZero writes The Chinese government has a new plan to install a 3D printer in each of its approximately 400,000 elementary schools over the next two years. Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run. The problem though is getting the machines into the schools in the first place. With prices generally ranging from $400 to $3,000 for typical desktop 3D printers, they are not cheap, and with budgets within many school districts running dry, both in the United States and overseas, the unfortunate fact is that many schools simply can’t afford them, not to mention the materials and time it takes to train teachers to use them.
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Report: Chinese Government Plans To Put 3D Printers In All Elementary Schools

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    These are unsubstantiated claims, and basically there is a 0% chance this is true. This should set your BS alarms ringing pretty loud.

    • These are unsubstantiated claims, and basically there is a 0% chance this is true. This should set your BS alarms ringing pretty loud.

      In other words, a typical Slashdot story.

  • by XNormal ( 8617 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @02:50AM (#49461259) Homepage

    1886 Mimeograph [wikipedia.org]

    1923 Spirit duplicator [wikipedia.org]

    2015 3D printer [wikipedia.org]

    • Nuclear Power? Yup, the folks at Fucuhima, and Chernobyl totally agree you.
    • I can just picture all the kids picking up their 3-D printed parts and smelling them as they are handed out.
  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @03:09AM (#49461299)

    Good to see it's not just the US that wastes money on expensive technology-related boondoggles that don't appreciably translate to improved education.

    With China’s recent plan for education, the ball is now clearly in Obama’s court. With a little under two years left in his final term, will he follow suit and fund a similar program to the one China has planned? We can only hope!

    Uh, no. Why does this have anything to do with Obama anyhow? Don't just buy millions of dollars worth of hardware and dump it in the hands of teachers. At least first create a small pilot program to see if this is a worthwhile idea before spending millions of dollars on a device that remains unused. Nothing good comes from wholesale adoption of technology without first checking to see if it will actually be of any use to students and teachers. See: California iPad program scandal / disaster.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Back when I was at school we had Lego and programmable Logo line drawing robots. We had a variety of other construction toys and printers... I seem to recall we had a plotter. In fact even when I was at pre-school we had a toy called a Big Track (or something like that) that you could program with simple commands like "forward 2m, turn left, forward 1m". I must have been 3 or 4 when I was doing that, and I'd say it was the start of my interest in programming and engineering.

      • Bigtrak! [bigtrakxtr.co.uk]

        I was always fascinated by them, but they were a rich kid's toy back then - they cost about the same in numbers, but the forces of inflation have made them so much cheaper now...

        Now they have one that has an app!

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          My pre-school got one. I was the first kid to have a go and was really happy when I made to go forward 1m. It was the best toy ever at that age.

      • by orasio ( 188021 )

        ipads are most useful if you want to consume content. Not much to experiment with them, at least not with the Ipad itself.

        3D printers are tools, awesome tools. They have nothing in common with Ipads, you can do stuff with 3D printers. Think of them as the logo turtles of today. They show kids a tangible application of programming, physics, math.

        Teachers have the opportunity to choose to use that for teaching, or just let them tinker with cool stuff.
        And I mean single teachers, they can just print a m

    • China, and they earned it, is a Red haired Child.
  • Eh (Score:5, Funny)

    by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @03:50AM (#49461413)

    It's never to early to learn how to make counterfeit product

  • A Chinese elementary school already HAS industry-standard manufacturing equipment sitting right at the desks.
  • not enough money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @04:36AM (#49461493) Journal
    A lot of school districts in California either bought iPads or Chrome Books for every student. It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of weird priorities (and weird bureaucracy).

    Now the school districts that got Chromebooks are upset because they got the cheap devices, and the ones that got iPads are upset because they keep breaking. It's like a disfunctional family.
    • A lot of school districts in California either bought iPads or Chrome Books for every student. It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of weird priorities (and weird bureaucracy).

      The issue is usually due to the source of the funding. These devices are purchased using one-time funds, often in the form of grants from the federal government. They either cannot be spent on teachers, or while allowed it would be silly to do so because you'd just have to fire that teacher next year.

      Teachers and really big tick

  • Fantastic news. The Central Party has decided they will put these in all classrooms because THAT'S a proven model for improving student learning that has never worked anywhere ever. It's nice to know the idiotic thinking that leads to wide-spread system-level roll-outs of technology that isn't understood, supported, or used isn't monopolized in the United States.
  • School budgets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @07:06AM (#49461739)

    With prices generally ranging from $400 to $3,000 for typical desktop 3D printers, they are not cheap, and with budgets within many school districts running dry, both in the United States and overseas, the unfortunate fact is that many schools simply canâ(TM)t afford them

    That's a myth. The U.S. spends more than a quarter of a million dollars per K-12 classroom every year [ed.gov] (average 20-23.4 students per class). We could easily afford one 3D printer per school. Heck, we could afford one per classroom.

    The problem is schools are top-heavy and administrators suck up most of that money, then create an artificial financial crisis every time a budget cut is threatened. This gets teachers and the teachers' union to claim we aren't spending enough on education, when we're already spending way more than we should be [ncee.org].

    Yes I'm aware that first link I gave says administration is only $843 per student per year. That's because the administrators have gamed the stats to hide how much money they're sucking up. If you drill down into the numbers (p.56) [ed.gov], you find that "In 2008-09, salary and employee benefits for school staff amounted to $8,797 per student." Subtract $843 for administration and that leaves $7954 per student supposedly going to instructional teachers.

    For 2010, the average student to teacher ratio was 16.0 [ed.gov] (this includes substitutes and assistants). Ask yourself, is the average teacher making ($7954 * 16) = $127,264 per year in salary and benefits? Of course not. The figure is inflated because the administrators have misclassified most of their salary and benefits as "instructional" instead of "administration" to hide how much money their draining from our educational system.

    • Politics also comes into play way more than it should. In an elementary school in our district, a principal was fired (he sexually harassed multiple teachers). Instead of just being fired, though, he was transferred to a position where he could keep his pay while doing nothing for a few years. The district didn't want the bad publicity of a lawsuit, so they hushed everything up as much as they could and kept him on the payroll.

      Another example: New York awarded a $26 million contract over 8 years to Pear

    • There are other personnel expenses in schools, janitors for example. The biggest dollar sinkhole is "special needs" children that shouldn't even be in public schools, the sort of children who get $100k of special instructors per year and who can't do anything but drool.
  • with budgets within many school districts running dry

    Primary and secondary public education coffers have been moth riddled and bare for more than 30 years. most districs charge for class books, even if its only 5-10 dollars each. Sports facilities get facelifts only from local franchise fast food franchise moguls and the system routinely finds itself ardently justifying lunches that consist of pizza and french fries every day of the week. History class is a hodgepodge of bill nye reruns and just enough basics to get you through standardized testing, while b

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is a lot more hype around the acquisition of 3D printers, than the actual utility of them. We have 'em in schools. I have friends that have 'em. We have one in our Hackerspace for free and open use. Except for a few novelty trinkets like game pieces, and iPhone case - in all the printers, in all the places - with all the people - this has been far from the world-changing devices they're often hyped to be. I don't want to say they're a "solution in-search of a problem" - but...let just say the "problem

  • Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run.

    I don't see the reasoning for this conclusion, it seems to me this program is a colossal waste of money. I did a little searching [teachthought.com] and these benefits don't seem that great except in the cases of engineering classes. I am sure there are some students who will have their interest piqued, but there's a false assumption in that argument that the students would not have gone on to be engineers without that early exposure to some toy in the classroom.

    • Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run.

      I don't see the reasoning for this conclusion, it seems to me this program is a colossal waste of money. I did a little searching [teachthought.com] and these benefits don't seem that great except in the cases of engineering classes.

      And Fine Arts. And "shop" class. And adv. music classes where students experiment with manufacture of music instruments. And cooking/baking classes (be them introductory classes or classes that are part of a more serious culinary arts curriculum.).

      I disagree with your assessment that STEM classes are the main beneficiary.

      I do agree with you, however, in the need to proceed with caution, and not to expect an educational silver bullet out of this.

  • a bit young (Score:4, Informative)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @09:25AM (#49462287)
    I'm an absolute expert at photoshop and I know HTML design inside and outside. I'm a pro 3D landscape designer for my work and last time I tried a 3D modeling program, I couldn't make heads or tails of it. After hours I gave up, having barely made a peanut shape. If I can't do it, I don't think elementary children and their teachers can. They could simply download premade 3d models but that's not usually the point of doing it in schools.
    • It doesn't follow that because you're an expert in 2D and some types of 3D design, you're automatically an expert in 3D modeling in general. Children trained early might actually become better than adults with years of computer graphics training. Maybe becoming a good 3D modeler requires the brain to be wired differently, something that can be easier to achieve in childhood, the way that a child for example can become fluent in a language faster than an adult would. Maybe it's the way a child is less afrai

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Have you been in a high school that teaches 3D modeling?

        I graduated from one in Central/Upstate New York where they promote the use of Autodesk Inventor in several engineering and technology-related schools. Some students understand and do useful things with the 3D printer. Most have very rudimentary skills (i.e. they can extrude simple shapes in the software, but concepts such as revolves are confusing and difficult). In general, a lot of these students were not able to produce things of value on the 3D pr

      • First of all, it was a beautiful peanut shape. Second, I also used to be a college math tutor. I have basically no art skills so don't ask me to model a person in 3D but I should definitely be able to make geometric shapes based on just math. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://pixologic.com/sculptris/

      Try Sculptris. You can probably make something in half an hour.

    • My daughter,

      does not have anywhere near the expertise you have, nor am I sure she ever will as she hasn't shown any kind of aptitude for this sort of thing.

      That being said, her school bought a 3-d printer, and it's the shear wonder of the thing that excites her. They have to pay some nominal amount, depending on the size of whatever it is they want to print, and I'll happily give her a dollar to get some trinket printed, only because she finds the thing so fascinating.

      That kind of excitement and wonder is

  • Take the money out of union dues.
  • Who do you think will make these 3D printers ? Obviously not American companies.
    I believe the point here is to promote mass production of 3D printers by offering a 400000 unit order to whoever can build these cheaply. If they manage to drop the price of entry-level 3D printers to say, sub-$100, there may be a huge market waiting for them. This, or the result of corruption by 3D printer manufacturers.
    Why schools ? First : if they are to build 400000 3D printers, at least put there somewhere they can be used,

  • This type of tech - maybe not just in one wave, but things of this nature - should replace standardized testing. To hell with filling in little dots, let the kids actually *create* things and then they are more likely to succeed. Tons of nasty leech organizations grab the kind of money needed for these sorts of initiatives. Swat them away and get creative - and yes 3D printers are manufactured in the US.

  • "Big government can't do anything right" crowd is constantly essentially handing our global competitors perpetual advantages, while increasingly sabotaging our economy.

    It also amazes me that so many people don't seem to comprehend what a huge game-changer 3D printer tech is and the proliferation of inexpensive 3D printers.

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