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The FabLab@School concept is designed to encourage innovation and to actively engage students in the use of technology to solve problems.

Lauriston Girls’ School’s FabLab@School officially opened in April 2014. In a collaborative partnership with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, Lauriston is the first school in Australia to launch its own Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and one of only six in the world.

Early last year, Principal Susan Just visited Stanford University Graduate School of Education where she was introduced to Associate Professor Paulo Blikstein who explained his concept of a FabLab@School.

Fabrication Laboratories are digital workshops comprising a mix of cutting-edge technology with more traditional building tools.

The FabLab@School concept is designed to encourage innovation and to actively engage students in the use of technology to solve problems. The associated curriculum is applicable across disciplines which means that all students can benefit from exposure to a FabLab.

Susan recognised the benefits of a FabLab@School and identified how the concept could strengthen Lauriston’s existing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) curriculum.

On her return, Susan was adamant that Lauriston be the first Australian school to join Paulo’s global FabLab@School network.

A little more than a year later, Susan gathered with guests to open the space. The special guests were key members from the Lauriston community and special guests Dr Misty Jenkins, 2013 L’Oreal Science Fellow and The Hon. Martin Dixon, State Minister for Education (Victoria).

In their presentations, Dr Misty Jenkins and The Hon Martin Dixon both highlighted the immense benefits of a FabLab@School, particularly how the concept had the potential to encourage more women to pursue a career in science.

Stanford University Graduate School of Education’s Associate Professor Paulo Blikstein made a ‘virtual’ appearance on the evening from San Francisco via video, welcoming guests to the opening of Lauriston’s FabLab@School.

Guests were then invited to explore the various aspects of the FabLab@School. Located in Lauriston’s existing Hamer Room in the Science and Resource Building at the Armadale campus, the FabLab@School contains a varied mix of items including a 3D printer, laser cutter, 3D mill, soldering equipment, art supplies and whiteboard-topped tables for sketching and planning.

Visitors witnessed the 3D laser cutter in action and admired the various objects made by the 3D printer.  They also had the opportunity to ask Dr Michael Street, Learning Group Leader for STEAM, questions as he provided up-close demonstrations of these leading technologies.

Susan took the opportunity at the opening to thank the Lauriston Foundation, donors, and Masters Home Improvement, our Premium Collaborator, for their support in commissioning Lauriston’s FabLab@School.

Original Story by: Lauriston

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