Fab@School Maker Studio: Project-Based Learning & Authenticity

This blog post was written by Denine Jimmerson, Creativity Curriculum & Evaluation Specialist at FableVision Learning. Denine offers professional support for the classroom. Note: Click on images to view lesson plans.

Today’s educational literature and professional development regularly use the terms “project-based learning” and “authenticity,” except there are no clear definitions of the two (and there are various interpretations out there)! The team at FableVision Learning got to thinking, “How do we know if Fab@School Maker Studio is aligned with both project-based learning and authenticity?”

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) defines project-based learning as “a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.” Additionally, authenticity is addressed through BIE’s Gold Standard Project Base Learning list by meeting the following criteria:

1. The project must be based on a student’s learning objectives.

Can projects that use Fab@School Maker Studio be aligned with a student’s specific learning objectives? Check. Whether your students are working with Common Core Standards, district standards or even IEP goals, students are working on projects and design products based on their differentiated instructional needs.

2. The project is framed by a meaningful problem or question to answer.

Can Fab@School Maker Studio be used for this purpose? Yes. Students become engaged in problem solving and produce solutions using science, technology, engineering, art and math (also known as STEAM).

3. Students must be engaged in rigorous inquiry by asking questions, finding resources, and applying what they find.

Does Fab@School Maker Studio foster these things? Absolutely. For example, if your student has an inquiry about sustainable energy, a solution to the world’s energy problems can be fabricated using the 2D and 3D software applications provided by Fab@School Maker Studio.

4. The project must give students the opportunity to use real-world tools and tasks.

Fab@School Maker Studio does this by giving students a tech-based platform that replicates engineering software in the real world, allowing students to become engineers and design prototypes that can be evaluated and revised.

5. Students and teachers must reflect on their learning processes.

With Fab@School Maker Studio, students become involved in a multitude of different learning processes (STEAM). By incorporating these processes through creating, designing, and fabricating, students and teachers have many opportunities to reflect on specific components or the entire operation itself.

6. Students should give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.

Fab@School Maker Studio also satisfies this point, as it is a major component of the design thinking process.

7. The project’s product must be publicly shared.

Fab@School Maker Studio easily meets this requirement. What’s a better way to share your creativity than in the form of a fabricated product that others can see and hold?

As you can see, Fab@School Maker Studio can be used to meet authentic, project-based learning standards. Students learn how to design, but better than that, they learn how to create products that allow them to show what they know in a meaningful way that is an authentic application of problem solving and critical thinking skills. Want to learn more about Fab@School Maker Studio? Click here.

We would love to hear how you are turning your own classroom into a maker space! Share your story by emailing andrea@fablevision.com OR tweet your projects at us @FableLearn