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Affordable Classroom Technology Leads the Way in the ‘Maker’ Education Movement

Helping students develop skills to support real-world initiatives through a solid technology foundation.

On June 12, 2015, President Obama declared the first ever National Week of Making to inspire students to invoke their inner inventor and simply have fun getting creative. This came on the one-year anniversary of his Nation of Makers initiative—a call to give students greater access to new manufacturing technologies, such as 3-D printers, desktop tools and software design programs. The president’s hope is that the maker movement will work its way into K-12 classrooms around the country, eventually leading to a boom in American manufacturing, an industry that has yet to make its mark in the era of globalization. That is, a new generation of well-trained students with a mind for creative design could potentially solve many of the manufacturing problems our nation faces today.

One year into the Nation of Makers initiative, more than 150 leaders in education have already committed to broadening their participation in the maker movement. For students, this will mean expanded access to tools and courses intended to teach them how to leverage new technology to impact the world.

Of course, this movement would not be possible without expanded access to affordable technology in the classroom. Thanks in a large part to E-Rate funds made available for many schools, access to additional monies for affordable technology is more attainable than ever. Additionally, many companies are making products tailored for K-12 school systems. As a matter of fact, Internet-connected Chromebooks currently dominate the education market, representing more than half of all devices sold for U.S. classrooms, due to the Google product’s tremendously competitive price. Their affordability has made all the difference to school districts working within strict technology budgets.

Once a school has a solid technology foundation for educating students, the maker movement can take hold there. With ubiquitous access to computers and high-speed connectivity, administrators can offer students advanced technology courses, such as code writing, to supplement their regular schoolwork. This will help pupils develop skills to support real-world initiatives. For example, students with a proclivity for hacking might one day lead the way to building more-secure national networks.

Another great example of how affordable classroom technology is enabling the maker movement can be seen in the evolution of 3-D printing in the education realm. This new model for printing allows students to practice digital design of objects. The skills developed can then be applied across all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses. Higher levels of classroom connectivity also give students access to such educational tools as online open-source 3-D projects to complete, and—if the printer needs repairs—video tutorials on how to perform what could otherwise be costly maintenance tasks if they were outsourced.

Schools that provide access to technology in the classroom can move forward with President Obama’s Nation of Makers initiative, producing students with higher levels of critical thinking, innovative mindsets and skill sets. This will help them successfully advance in the world, hopefully strengthening American manufacturing capabilities as they go. But in order to provide that technology, school districts on a budget should first look at how they can properly leverage their e-Rate funding. This will require a

partner with experience customizing solutions to meet the needs of growing school districts, whether its data, internet, voice, connectivity or managed services.

Cox Business

As technology takes an increasingly larger role in the classroom, preparing kids for their future has as many advantages as it does challenges. Providing the speed and quality that students and teachers need is something we at Cox Business are very proud to do. We can help design a system for your school that's tailored to the needs of your students, teachers and administrators, all while accommodating your budget. Visit to learn more about Cox Business Education solutions