ShopBot on the Road
More Travels in the Name of Digital Fabrication in Education
May and early June was the time to visit a number of digital fabrication labs in middle schools, high schools, and community colleges around the US. Some labs are fine tuning their plans after being in existence for a year or more, while some are just starting their journey.
PENNSYLVANIA: The Chevron Lab at Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1) near California, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, has a thriving program. They recently added three Handibot® Smart Power Tools (with rotary indexers) to their suite of digital fabrication tools. One will reside in the stationary lab, one will ride in the mobile lab, and one will be available at a tool lending library.
NORTH CAROLINA: The Charlotte Mecklenburg School System added digital fabrication to their curriculum in the 2016 - 2017 school year. Two high schools have ShopBots: Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, has one as part of a 3D lab. The tools are also used as a part of the home construction and automotive programs. Olympic High School in Charlotte also has a full sized ShopBot for use in their School of Technology Entrepreneurship & Advanced Manufacturing and with Project Lead The Way.
OHIO: The installation of the digital fabrication lab at Brady Middle School in Pikesville, OH (near Cleveland) was completed at the end of May. After the ShopBot PRSalpha 4 x 8 and a ShopBot Desktop were installed, Christie Kohn and Jake Miller, interim managers of the lab, invited 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers for a tour and “make and take.” Even the teachers from areas not a part of STEM education got inspired to use the digital fabrication lab with their students.
LOUISIANA: The Chevron Fab Lab NOLA at Delgado Community College in New Orleans is reaching out to the community to share its resources. Fab Lab manager Sam Provenza and Sallye Coyle hosted a diverse group of teachers and community leaders from Delgado Community College, local public and private schools, and extracurricular programs that are a part of Bricolage Academy and the Youth Empowerment Project.
For more details on Sallye Coyle's visits to all of these locations, as well as photos, see her recent ShopBot blog post.
May's Digital Fabrication for Educators Workshop
The first of three Digital Fabrication for Educators Workshops offered at ShopBot took place in May. Teachers traveled from as far as Oregon and Ontario, Canada to attend the 2.5 day session. Two of the groups returned to ShopBot for advanced work after having attended one of the regular two day trainings approximately a year ago. The faculty from Fanshawe School of Design in Ontario, Canada, were digital fabrication newbies, and went home confident that they could now run (and teach) on the ShopBot and laser cutter that they have in their new lab.
Drew and Ben, from Fanshawe School of Design (London, Ontario, Canada), show off their work at the end of day two of the Digital Fabrication for Educators Workshop. If you look closely, you can see the same design file etched with the laser cutter and machined with a ShopBot, which is part of the workshop's cross-platform training.