FabKids and FabTeachers

The FabKids and FabTeachers

In 2006 the Meraka Institute incubated the Young Engineers and Scientists of Africa (YESA) Project to initiate a pipeline for science, engineering and technology. The FabKids project emerged as a flagship project which focused on exposing learners from Grades 1-12 to the high-tech rapid-prototyping environment of FabLabs. The constructivist approach emphasized the design process of investigate, design, make, evaluate and communicate to encourage learners to unleash their creative talents while developing innovative solutions to the real-world challenges provided. The FabKids and FabTeachers interventions were piloted at the Innovation Hub and Soshanguve FabLabs with participants from the Tshwane, Soshanguve and Brits areas.

FabKids and FabTeachers, is a programme that provides the learner and teacher with a broad exposure to the real world of Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI). Other important skills that are acquired include group work, entrepreneurial opportunities, presentation, design and realizing an artifact while operating in a high-tech rapid prototyping environment such as a FabLab. The idea is to make use of a well equipped environment where the emphasis of the FabKids and FabTeachers pedagogy is embedded in the pedagogical approach and is not entirely reliant on high-tech equipment.

The project aims to contribute to the scientific and technical know-how about how groups of learners are able to use future FabLabs that will be installed across South Africa in the coming months. Furthermore, the project intends to uncover new approaches to utilizing the resources while exposing the learners to a structured design process. The learners with above average Science and Mathematics results who are selected onto the programme will be provided with a five day exposure of the capabilities of the FabLab to acquire the skills of using a broad range of technologies, short electronics courses, etc., which can be used to realize specific short-term challenges. During the initial experience learners will be exposed to softer skills such as team work, lateral thinking, problem solving, communication, etc. Each participant will be provided with a credit of a further five days which they can use to work on a collaborative project specifically geared towards such programmes as the Expo for Young Scientists, Technology Olympiad or solving a problem from within their own communities.


FabLab Train-the-Trainer

Starting in June and ending in September 2011 all FabLab Managers at the five FabLabs in South Africa will be trained in the FabKids pedagogy, in collaboration with Dr Ron Beyers (YESA). This is an exciting project where approximately 16 learners will be exposed to the wonders of the FabLab as FabKids every day for a period of one week. The first session started in Soshanguve FabLab the week of the 30 May 2011 till 03 June 2011.

Read more about the Soshanguve FabKids Session......



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