UK Education Secretary Michael Gove announced England’s schools will use a new “national curriculum” commencing in September 2014. While the new curriculum contains a variety of improvements, there is a rather interesting inclusion: exposure and basic training on the use of advanced technologies such as robotics and 3D printing.
This implies each UK school (at least the public ones) will effectively be required to provide a 3D printer, associated software and training to children as young as five years old.
Big implications arise from this policy change.
First, someone is going to sell an awful lot of inexpensive 3D printers. There are approximately 17,000 primary schools in England alone, and if each required at least one 3D printer, well, you get the picture. In fact, it’s a lot more than that. 3D printers are notorious for their lengthy operating times. This means schools will require multiple machines to enable all students access. There could be as many as 100,000 3D printer sales or more as a result of the new curriculum. Expect sales people to swarm school administrators soon.
Secondly, this policy change means virtually all children in England will be well versed on the concepts of making and design. These empowered and confident will age into adolescents and eventually adults where their early experience with 3D printing will generate ideas, companies and concepts we can only dream of today.
Well done, England!