Only a single week remains before the end of the third round of the #SciFund Challenge and both projects languish without additional crowdfunding gifts beyond the first week’s flush after the challenge opened. I have received many contacts from past supporters, expressing discomfort and sadness at an inability to contribute because economic times have been tough or because teachers taking part in my STEMulate Learning and SOLID Learning programs have been warned about contributing monies to programs they wish to take part in as public school teachers.
I cannot imagine why someone decided to contact my educators’ school districts with a complaint about crowdfunding efforts. I hope this is merely concern and not a targeted effort to breed distrust in 3D printing as a whole. The potential present in additive manufacturing is a highly disruptive one to traditional manufacturing and supply chain industries. To bring production capability to the same region as consumption for new products will significantly impact the standard “Made in China/Taiwan” traditions of mass manufacturing that have been the expanding standard as the Internet has bridged the globe into a single economic whole. It is my fervent hope that some of the very youth we are exposing to these new STEM technologies for 3D printing, automation, robotics, and neurocomputing will be the very ones to make the dream of a new world into reality. I respect very much the teachers that are striving to do the same in their own classrooms, even in the face of opposition, distrust, fear and even interference.
It remains possible that we may yet see a sudden resurgence of interest in the two crowdfunding efforts in this round of the #SciFund Challenge and reach our goals of a few hundred dollars for each…however, that would only make our way ahead easier. If we fall short of our goals in this round of crowdfunding, SOLID Learning and the STEMulate Learning programs will continue unabated. This effort to bring on-demand learning materials, artifacts and tools to teachers is not dependent upon our crowdfunding efforts but only on the willingness of educators to retain an interest in new ideas.
No matter the level of our crowd-funding, we are already successful because people remain interested in our work, and some have even given of their precious coin towards these projects. Our success is measured in each child that benefits from our workshops, every teacher than can take advantage of our lessons and every person they will touch in turn with their ideas.