Transforming Fablabs Into Steamlabs

What is all about?

KA229 - School Exchange Partnerships. Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices.

What does STEAM means?

What is the project's goal?

The main goal of our project is to transform FabLabs into STEAMLabs. A FabLab is a workspace where pupils (and most often a much broader audience) are given the possibility to use machines for the collective realization of a physical or digital (intermediate) product. Although education is provided within a FabLab, it mainly focuses on the use of the machinery. As may be obvious, this is insufficient for pre- and primary schools. For the pupils of these schools, it is important that the machines are placed in a context. Such context can be created with additional learning activities, focusing amongst others on the design of concepts, the exploration of the machinery and the possibilities to combine the products created by the different machines. Due to the fact that these STEAM related learning activities are drawn upon FabLabs, we create so-called STEAMLabs. In other words, a STEAMLab can be defined as a FabLab where pupils don’t only focus on the realization of an (intermediate) product, but also on the entire cycle starting from an idea up to the realization of a final product.

Currently every participating school focusses on a limited number of machines and/or techniques (that is, sometimes multiple techniques can be applied on a single machine). As a result, it is impossible for them to provide a curriculum taking every aspect of STEAM into account. With this project, we provide a platform for these schools to share their knowledge and experiences, allowing them to broaden the application of their FabLab such that these FabLabs can evolve towards fully fledged STEAMLabs.

Initially the knowledge sharing will take place between the participating teachers. Together with a few selected pupils, they’ll visit each other’s schools. During each visit, experience is gained with the machine in the technique in which the school concerned has built up a specialisation. Since each school treats another machine/technique, additional knowledge is obtained continuously. Back home, the goal is to apply the newly discovered techniques. In some cases this means, that the FabLab has to be expanded with the machinery required. Once this machinery is available, the internal knowledge sharing can take place. That is, the participating teachers will be able to share their newly obtained knowledge and experiences with the other teachers of the school. This can be done via a practical training or via the supply of teaching materials (possibly translated from the visited school).

An additional goal of the project is to make STEAMLabs accessible for pupils of all ages. The teaching materials of the different schools are currently not foreseen for this. Therefore, attention will be given to the expansion of these teaching materials, such that different aspects of a certain technique can be discussed with pupils of different ages. As may be obvious, the other schools are allowed to translate these teaching materials to prevent the reinvention of the wheel.


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