by General Fabb
The Fab@Home guys at Cornell have won a major contest in the education sector, as they were recently named one of eight winners in the third annual Digital Media and Learning competition. The competition attempts to dramatically change how education works in the 21st century:
President Obama has called for a renewed focus on science, technology, engineering and math education in the United States. The headlines of 2009 highlight the need for urgency: Whether it is epidemic disease, clean energy, climate change, new economic models, or innovative responses to local and global problems, the next generation will experience a rapidly changing world of daunting challenges. The complexity of such challenges will require sophisticated critical thinking and an ability to understand and affect the multiple systems that shape the economy, society and even life itself. Today’s young people will be called upon to demonstrate the dispositions and habits of mind that have always been at the heart of innovation and achievement – creativity, persistence, imagination, curiosity, storytelling, tinkering, improvisation, passion, risk-taking, and collaboration. These are the very dispositions and habits of mind that are nurtured by the exploration and understanding of science, technology, engineering and math.
FabLab participated in Glenn Bull's entry from the University of Virginia. Prof. Bull (pictured above) brought together several schools of education and technology to propose the following:
Fab@School introduces K-12 students to the excitement and power of mathematical analysis and modeling, digital fabrication, and engineering by encouraging imaginative and collaborative experimentation, invention, design, and creation. Adapting a low-cost open-source emergent digital fabrication system for school use, Fab@School provides students the satisfying experience of taking their concepts-from geometric structures to simple machines to usable products-from mind's eye to physical form. A complementary curriculum aligned with school standards fosters the further development of STEM skills by posing challenges and presenting models that spur inquiry and inspire students' original designs.
You must watch the video to appreciate the importance of their entry. We believe this effort, if successful, could jumpstart manufacturing education across the globe by bringing the ideas to the younger ages. Kids are fascinated by this stuff if presented properly, and if they're interested, it should carry through as they get older.
Plant seeds, and watch them grow. Well, done, FabGuys!