The pioneer of the FabLab@School program is coming to Lauriston

For two years Lauriston has been running a Fabrication Laboratory (or FabLab) to enhance the way maths, science and the arts are taught at the School. Lauriston's FabLab is part of Stanford University's Graduate School of Education program and is the only one if its kind in Australia. This modern learning space is equipped with a 3D printer, laser cutter, 3D mill, soldering equipment, art supplies and whiteboard-topped tables for sketching and planning.

After running a number of projects in schools, Professor Blikstein realised there was no dedicated space for engineering and invention so the FabLab@School program was born. He designed the FabLabs to be inviting, friendly and safe where students (especially girls) can combine new technology with traditional building tools and techniques.

Professor Paulo Blikstein is coming to Lauriston next month to learn more about how we are using our selected technology, the way teachers are interpreting his vision and how the girls are responding to the classes in the FabLab.

During his visit, Professor Blikstein will provide both practical tips and the philosophical structure surrounding FabLabs and he will also be a keynote speaker at Lauriston’s FabLearn conference on May 20-21.
As well as reviewing Lauriston’s cross disciplinary approach,Professor Blikstein and our Principal, Susan Just will be meeting with local university heads and government officials to advocate for more digital fabrication in schools.

“Our FabLab gives students the ability to come up with their own ideas, to design, to make mistakes and to go back and try again. If the world requires more entrepreneurs, our students need to first know how to crystallise an idea, to plan and to design products that others can use. A FabLab goes a long way into helping students understand these fundamental principles,”says Susan Just.

Learn more about Professor Blikstein's work here.

You can learn more about the FabLearn Conference here.

Projects run in Lauriston’s FabLab:

  • Preps used iPads to design pyramids as a part of their cross disciplinary study looking at history, maths (3D shapes) and design. Their designs were cut out on the laser cutter.
  • To strengthen their understanding of Chinese characters, girls in Grade 1 and 4 used an online drawing tool and the laser cutter to fashion unfamiliar words.
  • The immigration unit studied in Year 6 encouraged girls to design and create an interpretation of a ‘special item’ different cultures would have brought to Australia. 
  • The Year 10 STEM elective requires students to design, build and enhance a miniature sustainable house over a semester which incorporates computerisation through Arduino Boards and other FabLab tools.