Last weekend I spoke at Paulo Blikstein’s FabLearn symposium at the Center for Educational Research at Stanford. Paulo has a well-equipped fabrication lab (Transformative Learning Technologies Lab) and a gaggle of great graduate students, and a mission to engage young people in fabrication: FabLab@School. FabLearn focused on integrating fabrication technologies into secondary education, attracting ~45 outstanding STEM educators from both formal (school) and informal (museums, after-school, and summer camps) sectors. My chum Mike Eisenberg (Craft Tech Lab, Colorado) argued for an approach to education that integrates making into children’s lives (an “anthropological approach”), rather than diagnosing and repairing cognitive deficiencies; Dale Dougherty (MAKE) spoke about efforts to build Maker communities, and Neil Gershenfeld (MIT Media Lab) laid out the Bits & Atoms vision and FabLab spinoffs. I talked about construction kits and showed Cubelets. Excellent cross-talk and optimism about how making things engages kids in learning. Kudos to Paulo for making it happen, and Modular Robotics was happy to be there.
Curiosity and Discovery in the Classroom
While having Cubelets for a whole class is the dream, a single group of Cubelets can be just as effective of a teaching tool. Because