Weekly Roundup: Increasing Diversity in Tech

The Maker Movement moves fast, and lots has happened this week with STEAM education and makers in general. Here’s some of the coolest news that we saw this week:

The keys to increasing diversity in tech? STEM education and removing gender bias, D.C. CTO says

There’s a diversity problem in tech today. Luckily, CTO for Washington D.C. Archana Vemulapalli is pretty sure she knows the solution: early STEM education. Vemulapalli explains that the gender bias needs to be removed from early childhood, and that gender-biased activities — like giving boys toys like Legos and girls dolls — only adds to the problem. In this interview, Vemulapalli explains several of her ideas about how early education can play into decreasing inequality in the industry in general.

Tinkerine Expands 3D Printing Education Initiative

Tinkerine is a Canadian-based company that is expanding what it calls its 1:1:1: Education Initiative. The initiative aims to provide one DittoPro 3D printer for every student in each STEAM classroom at a school. Tinkerine hopes that they can get teachers to effectively incorporate 3D printers into classrooms by giving each student access to one, and they are trying to shift the focus away from the glamour of the machine and towards how it can enhance a student’s education when used correctly.

Etihad Airways displays first 3D printed parts for plane interiors from Strata Manufacturing and Siemens

3D printing and the Maker Movement is everywhere these days, including the Middle East. Etihad Airways, the UAE’s second biggest airline, just announced that they are going to begin to use a 3D-printed part in the interior of their airplanes. That part is the plastic that goes around monitors on the backs of passenger seats. The benefits of using 3D printers to create these frames are many: they can create more of the units at a fraction of the cost, and they no longer need storage units to store them (since they can be made on-demand), which eliminates overhead costs. Etihad’s usage of 3D printing shows just how global in scope the Maker Movement is.

The Issues: Why STEM Education Must Begin in Early Childhood Education

In this article, educational researchers explore why it’s important to start STEM education for students during early childhood education — not in middle school or high school. Experts found that because the most critical period for brain development is from birth to age five, it is important to introduce them to the idea of observing, interacting, discovering and exploring at that time. The article also offers suggestions about how to get STEM education introduced so early, including using a play-based curriculum and utilizing common lessons that are often already used in early childhood education: playing on the playground, learning to wash hands and build structures with blocks.

3D food printer unveiled in US

And now for a plain fun (and delicious development) — a 3D food printer has finally been unveiled in the US! The printer, created by a startup called BeeHex, is called Chef 3D and it can print pizzas on demand. The initial idea for the printer came from a desire to provide astronauts with a machine that could make a variety of foods in space. However, they adapted their idea for eaters on earth, and diners can choose what shape pizza they want with what toppings.