The FabLearn Fellows program is part of a larger project sponsored by the National Science Foundation entitled “Infusing Learning Sciences Research into Digital Fabrication in Education and the Makers’ Movement.” FabLearn Fellows brings together experienced educators from all over the world to create an open-source library of curriculum, resources, information, and contribute to research about the “makers” movement and digital fabrication in education.
The 2014 FabLearn Fellows cohort is a diverse group of 18 educators and makers. They represent eight states and five countries, and work with a wide range of ages at schools, museums, universities and non-profits. Throughout the course of the year, they will develop curriculum and resources, as well as contribute to current research projects. They come together once a month as a group at an online webinar for conversations with experts in the field and to share their progress on their individual projects.
Despite the recent popularity of the maker movement and FabLabs in education, most teachers work in isolation, cut off from other practitioners doing similar projects, as well as learning sciences researchers. One of the main objectives of the fellows program is to bring researchers and practitioners together to help bridge these gaps. By connecting educators and researchers in the field, we hope fellows will learn from each others' experiences, share these lessons with their local community, and, together, create educational materials for the rest of the community.
Through this project, we hope to answer three major questions:
- How can we generate an open-source set of constructionist curricular materials well-adapted for Makerspaces and FabLabs in educational settings?
- How are teachers adapting their own curriculum in face of these new “making” technologies, and how can they be better supported? What challenges do teachers face when trying to adopt project-based, constructionist, digital fabrication activities in their classrooms and after-school programs?
- How are schools approaching teacher development, parental/community involvement, and issues around traditional assessment?