Teachers attend session to learn 3D printers

Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 20:31:13-04

Forget printing paper, that's so 2000. Thanks to 3D printers you can make everything from toys to living tissue and soon they'll be in your local school.

That's why more than 20 middle school teachers and educators from all over the state came to a classroom at the Discovery Center in Boise to learn all about the new technology.

"It's a technology that's here and were going to be building upon that just like with computer technology in the 90's," said Susan Wolfe, a teacher with the Boise School District.

It's an effort made possible by the STEM Action Center. A state initiative that focuses on the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Many of Idaho's future jobs are going to be STEM-based, jobs that are in high demand and pay well.

"They pay nearly double the median wage of a non-STEM job so a student could come out of a 4-year degree and potentially make 32 dollars an hour," said Angela Hemingway the executive director for the Idaho STEM Action Center.

When the teachers have finished this workshop, they'll be taking the printers back to their classrooms where their students will be using this technology to solve real world issues. They'll even put their skills to the test in a competition next may. Educators say that even if a student doesn't end up pursuing a career in the STEM fields, it will still teach them a valuable lesson. 

"You also learn how to learn, how to teach yourself," Vision Charter School robotics coach Michael Samuelson said. "It's a really great way for kids to take ownership of the learning process."