*Note: the content on this page has been produced by an artificial intelligence engine as students work to leverage machine learning in the labs.
Personalized learning & fabrication
FabLabs are technology-enhanced workshops that offer access to personalized fabrication technologies like 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC milling machines. These facilities provide users with the opportunity engage in hands-on, project-based activities that involve designing and building prototypes or small-scale production runs of custom products. Each VW eLab is registered as a Fab Lab and our team works collaboratively to actively support and participate in the international FabLab network developed by the Fab Foundation from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms.
Each VW eLab is designed to capitalize on the unique vision and culture of each school. Integrated directly into the school schedule, the labs provide an incredible opportunity for students to experience deep learning as a result of rich experience. The technology in the labs empowers students to engage in
personalized learning by working on projects that are tailored to their specific interests and learning styles. For example, a student interested in engineering might work on a project that involves designing and building a prototype of a new product, while a student interested in art might work on a project that involves creating a small-scale production run of custom-designed jewelry. The learning model is built on the principles outlined in Dr. Gary Stager and Dr. Sylvia Martinez's books Invent to Learn.
By using VW eLabs as a key part of the learning environment, educators empower students, help them learn more effectively, and prepare them for success in a wide range of fields and careers.
Fab labs are more than just high-tech workshops; our learning model, developed out of STEM School Chattanooga with the Public Education Foundation and Hamilton County Schools, leverages labs as a mechanism for students to gain valuable technical and essential skills that prepare them for success in the modern workforce. Here are just a few examples of how students are using VW eLabs to gain an edge in their careers:
Engineering students are using labs to prototype and test new designs for electric vehicles and other advanced technologies. By working with real-world materials and equipment, these students are gaining practical experience that will be valuable in their future careers.
Data science students are using fab labs to analyze and visualize data generated by computer-controlled machines, such as 3D printers and CNC milling machines. By learning how to interpret and present data, these
students are developing valuable skills in data analysis and visualization, which are in high demand in many industries.
Entrepreneurship students are using fab labs to prototype and test new ideas for products and services. By working on real-world projects in a FabLab, students are experience product development and market research, which can help them succeed in a wide range of sectors and industries.
Rather than building a direct pathway to specific jobs by focusing on specific discrete skills (like an academy for welding or robotronics), VW eLabs use a holistic approach that focuses on helping students develop essential skills like critical thinking, creative problem solving, and communication. As students use the technology to create functional solutions to authentic problems, they also develop the agility and adaptability necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Essentially, schools are using VW eLabs to teach students to learn how to learn!
FabLabs and Constructionism
Constructionism is a learning theory that suggests that students are more likely to learn and retain new information when they are actively engaged in constructing their own understanding of the material. In a constructionist learning environment, students are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process, working on projects and activities that allow them to explore and discover new concepts and ideas.
VW eLabs are an ideal setting for constructionist learning, as they provide students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on, project-based activities that allow them to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems and challenges. Labs empower schools to provide students with the opportunity to learn through active exploration and discovery with state of the art technology.
Our integrated learning model in VW eLabs prepares students for success in a number of ways, including:
Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills: By working on projects and activities in a fab lab, students are challenged to think creatively and critically, and to develop functional solutions to real-world problems.
Encouraging collaboration and teamwork: Fab labs were designed to be more than a collection of tools...they also provide access to a network of people who are dedicated to sharing knowledge and building on the work of others in a global community. In schools, students use this same idea to engage with a broad range of people as they work together to bring their ideas to life!
Providing real-world relevance: Working on projects in a fab lab helps students see the relevance of their learning to the real world. Rather than isolating learning to trivial problems focused on memorizing theories, labs empower teachers to make the learning tangible and to help students make their thinking visible. As an added byproduct, student engagement radically increases.
Fostering creativity and innovation: Fab labs and constructionist learning environments encourage students to think creatively and to explore new ideas. Leveraging access to computer controlled tools, a network of experts, and brilliant teachers, student experience increased innovation and develop strong problem-solving abilities.