Why the Print Industry Needs to Prove Its Products are Perfect for Education
BLI Experiences Britain’s Biggest Education Trade Show to See How the Print Industry Is Represented
The education market is one vertical that every print manufacturer purports to serve, so it was surprising to see only a couple of the big-hitters—namely Epson and KYOCERA—from the document output world at the BETT 2017 education trade show. After all, every school and administration building in a district is teeming with printers and MFPs, and today’s smart MFPs are packed with computational power and can be used to perform and support a number of functions beyond print/copy/scan/fax, such as providing the front-end to a print- or document-management solution. And that’s before even considering the education-specific tasks that modern MFPs can perform, like creating and automatically grading “fill in the bubble” test sheets (witness KYOCERA Teaching Assistant) or inputting data to school management systems (KYOCERA’s SIMS.net Connector).
|KYOCERA’s Teaching Assistant MFP solution lets teachers create, print and grade class tests.|
Teaching Assistant runs on HyPAS-enabled KYOCERA MFPs and allows teachers to create and grade multiple-choice tests. Tests can be created and printed on the machine and then—once filled in by pupils—scanned on the device to be marked by Teaching Assistant. Meanwhile, SIMS.net Connector helps schools administer staff and student records by allowing users to scan documents into SIMS.net from a KYOCERA MFP.
Epson’s stand was capitalising on its inkjet devices, including the WF-R8590 DTWF RIPS, which provides high page yields and low energy use while using space-efficient consumables thanks to its Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) that delivers up to 75,000 pages without changing the packs. Epson was also keen to promote its Print365 subscription service, which provides customers with consumables, on-site maintenance and their own choice of printer for a fixed monthly sum. Each package allows customers to print a specific amount of pages, with more expensive packages allowing more pages to be printed.
|The Epson WF-R8590 DTWF’s high-yield ink bags help lower per-page costs and reduce user intervention.|
Print365 sounds like a good idea for those schools that want an all-inclusive print package that includes technical support and that don’t want to invest in another asset. Going off Epson’s current price list, a school could benefit from a colour MFP for £35 per month, and the Epson WF-R8590 DTWF for £139 per month.
You Print Me in 3D
At the show there were fewer booths dedicated to 3D printing than we expected. While 3D printers have been popular at such trade shows over the last few years, BETT 2017 seemed to be dominated by robots and mini-computers, including the micro-Bit and Raspberry Pi, with only a couple of 3D printer manufacturers—MakerBot and Dremel—making a splash on the show’s floor.
Dremel is keen to introduce students to the process of 3D printing in the classroom, from the software design stage to the final 3D-printed article. It also encourages teachers to use the technology in the classroom to teach subjects such as physics and biology (ideas for projects can be found on the Dremel website).
Meanwhile, MakerBot was making its presence felt with a stand dedicated to its range of 3D-printing devices, from the Replicator Mini+ all the way up to the Replicator Z18. When asked what separates MakerBot from the competition, its representative explained that there are lesson plans already created for teachers to incorporate 3D printing in the classroom, and that the units’ removable extruder detects when a blockage occurs so that an operator can remove the blockage and continue printing from the point at which the blockage occurred. MakerBot also supplies all the materials needed to support education, whether that’s software or learning materials. Also worthy of note, the substance used by Makerbot’s Replicators is corn starch-derived PLA, so it’s environmentally safe and safe for children to use. Support packages are also available.
|The MakerBot Replicator range uses a corn starch-based filament to produce 3D-printed articles.|
The most heartening thing about BETT was exhibitors’ enthusiasm for using new technology to make teaching and learning more efficient, effective and interactive. there was also an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. We found the programmable robot sets from Lego, VEX Robotics and others very exciting—and would love to have had access to them when we were in school!