The Club Teen Center at the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue in August 2017
CoMOTION at the University of Washington in August 2017
What a neat makerspace! The Stgo MakerSpace is located in a startup and innovation center in the Providencia neighborhood of Santiago, Chile. The center is a huge wear house and the makerspace is the second floor just next to a large open office. I am thankful that I got a tour and learned a little bit about the ideas of teaching and learning at the predominantly adult-serving makerspace.
Innovation through proximity – The offices of the startup firms, including the first 3D printer production company in Chile (!!!), are located in close proximity to each other. The hope and perhaps expectation is that this could foster unexpected ideas that could be turned into product prototypes at the makerspace. One example that was shared with me was the DIY furniture (e.g., tables and cupboards) of the makerspace. Two startups came up with the idea of using the project to explore working together. They planned, created, and then donated the furniture to the makerspace.
Youth workshops by startups – Those firms that are located in the startup and innovation center and are using the makerspace to prototype projects from alternative musical instruments to sculptures of recycled materials are encouraged to pass on their learning. They are facilitating, for example, one-week long workshops for youth to explore a range of materials and concepts, from electronic tools kits to woodworking to programming. One example of such a workshop is the 3D printing of hollow figures of popular media characters that LED lights can be positioned inside of to craft a circuitry puppet-show.
The Curb Center for Arts, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Makerspace at the High Tech Elementary School in Chula Vista, CA, in May 2016
FabLab at the Lauriston Girls’ School in May 2016
I had the pleasure to facilitate a few workshops with the wonderful girls at Lauriston Girls’ School‘s FabLab earlier this summer! The workshops were part of the FabLearn Australia conference in Melbourne. Check out their facilities and the fantastic air ventilation system they have installed!
Creativity Lab at the Lighthouse Community Charter School in June 2016 – Photograph by Aaron Vanderwerff
This morning, Aaron shared two beautiful images of the stunning Creativity Lab at the Lighthouse Community Charter School. What I like most about this space is how well integrated the high tech tools (e.g., 3D printers) seem to be with the cardboard corner, crocheted garlands, and clear DIY storage units. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your makerspace, Aaron!
iDA Labs on Wheels in June 2016
An initiative across the public and private sector, the iDA Labs on Wheels are roaming the streets of Singapore since 2014 with the idea to introduce every child to making. I had a chance to tour two types of busses during the ICLS 2016 conference at the National Institute of Education (NIE). One of the Labs on Wheels is conceptualized for secondary school students and includes a 3D scanner, 3D printer, laser cutter, and other high-tech demos, such as a virtual reality rollercoaster. The other lab is for elementary school students and features comfortable collaborative sitting space for tinkering sessions with high-tech toolkits from Shape Tracer, a robot kit that can be programmed with block-based programming languages, to Cubelets, a tangible manipulative with sensors. Among other events and programs, the Labs on Wheels travel to 1-2 schools a week to facilitate 1 hour long tinkering sessions to as many classrooms as possible. During sessions on the elementary school bus, for example, classes of 35-40 students is invited to two busses to explore the high-tech tools.
The Labs on Wheels are addressing some unique challenges in that they need to consider in their spatial material design. These include the need to stably and securely mount equipment and to store toolkits in locked cabinets to avoid shifting when the busses are moving, which restricts the extent of internal flexibility and mobility of furniture arrangements or kinds of crafting materials that can be offered. Due to the limited session times, the Labs on Wheels need to balance exposing youth to new and surprising materials with the possibility for youth to continue exploring after their visit. While the tangible tool-kits can be expensive to purchase, the staff aim to offer free and browser-based software, such as Tinkercad so youth could continue to develop their 3D models at home and print them in 3D print labs that offer free or affordable printing services.