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FabLabs: The Catalyst for Transforming K-12 Education

on February 5, 2016 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Comments Off on FabLabs: The Catalyst for Transforming K-12 Education

From small towns to large cities, FabLabs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces are popping up everywhere. FabLabs, Makerspaces,How to Turn Your School or Library into a Maker Haven Training by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski Hackerspaces and the like have the capability to truly transform K-12 education worldwide. These type “places” provide a place where ideas are created, they foster innovation and invention from the young and seasoned alike, from the novice to the experienced. The maker movement is not simply about “making”, nor focused strictly on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. The incorporation of art is also integral to most FabLabs, and the like which is in sync with science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) education.  The maker movement is about the “mind-set”. It’s about empowering the individual, allowing individuals and groups of individuals to create, design, build, experiment, communicate and collaborate. Unfortunately, the aforementioned is often lacking in traditional school and informal learning settings. The “maker education” movement is on the forefront of transforming K-12 education by providing spaces where individuals can truly be creative, design, build, communicate and collaborate without the restrictions and limitations often seen in formal education learning environments. I’ll be touring the U.S.A. and world documenting FabLabs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces, etc. to gather authentic audio and video documentation of institutions, schools, libraries, etc. that have transformed a space into a FabLab, Makerspace, and Hackerspace. I’ll be introducing best practices during my science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and Makerspace professional staff development I conduct to educators of all grade levels in both formal and informal learning environments including libraries, community centers etc. The following photos were taken during the Grand Opening of the Space Coast FabLab, Project Based Learning, Inc., in Melbourne, Florida. The Space Coast FabLab is a 17,000 square foot facility. It offers community outreach, workshops, classes, certification programs, vocational trainings, incubation and guidance for start-up companies. Membership is free to Brevard County Residents or you can choose to be a founding member for $25.00 per month. A corporate membership is $2,000.00 annually. Many of the classes or free, or have a nominal fee. All classes are open to the general public. What will you find at the SpaceCoast FabLab? High tech equipment available for use (after training) including: 3D printers, laser printers, woodworking tools, computers, audio visual studio, robotics, tinkering spaces and more. Classes are taught by highly-skilled, and enthusiastic individuals. I look forward to taking some tech-based classes at Spacecoast FabLab as well as conducting classes for teachers and parents in the near future. For more information about the Spacecoast FabLab check out their website SpaceCoast FabLab. For more information about the STEM and Makerspace professional staff development Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski offers contact her by completing the contact form on this website. The following photos were taken during the four hours Dr. Wehrell-Grabowski spent touring the Grand Opening of the SpaceCoast FabLab.

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