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The Fablab Classroom: Preparing Students for the Next Industrial Revolution

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Glen Bull
 
This project introduces fourth- and fifth-grade students and teachers to engineering design and associated science and mathematics concepts by developing and implementing a new, scalable, personal fabrication laboratory—the Classroom FabLab—and supporting curricular activities. Cornell University is developing the Fab@School 3-D fabricator to support the project. The goal is to develop an open-source fabricator for schools that can be assembled in an afternoon for less than $1,000 in materials. Aspex and FableVision are developing design software for these students. Classroom activities are being developed by the University of Virginia and Hofstra University. The University of Virginia and the University of North Texas are using these resources to introduce personal fabrication to pre-service teachers. The pre-service teachers subsequently have the opportunity to work with collaborating teachers in classrooms in Virginia and Texas. Participants include teacher education faculty, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and K–12 students. The Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) is creating an online Digital Fabrication Library to house and disseminate the curriculum, activities, and digital designs.