Everything and nothing

Our space started as an empty room with expensive machines. It was newly built and designated as our district’s ‘Fab Lab’. A ‘fabrication laboratory’ is usually stocked with machines to help prototype an idea. All middle and high school teachers were to share the space.

When I started teaching in the fab lab years later, I thought of the machines as a strength. Kids could 3D print! CNC projects! Vinyl and laser cutter projects! I had to juggle many things as students made their first projects. 

I have already explained how this did not lead to the success that we imagined. Kids quickly found the machines boring from the simple projects. I had not taught them how to think like creators, merely how to use a machine.

Then class started to look more like a technology class.  This was a struggle as well.  At the same time, the ‘mind shifts’ from the previous chapters had started to break apart my science teacher worldview. 

It would be better to start with just an empty room. Too much struggle to use machines, too little actual creativity and thought going into projects.

A new vision for education

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