Fablabs, makerspaces, digilabs: all use digital technology to enable creative and practical output. As part of the maker movement, they are spaces for problem solving and mutual technology use. We use the collective term ‘labs’ to describe such spaces and regard them as socio-technical configurations. Labs can be used in cooperation with schools as places of education and are particularly suitable for use as spaces to address the interests and skills of those children and young people who are often disadvantaged in formal education. Although labs are more able than schools to give the public access to the latest technology, FabLabs are so much more than just high-tech spaces.
The FaBuLoUS collaborative project believes labs play a key role in the integration of formal and informal education in today’s digital context. The central question is how activities can be co-designed by labs, schools and students, and what transformations result from such cooperative ventures. The project:
- designs iterative and participatory learning scenarios in cooperation with selected schools (primary and lower secondary levels), which encourage computational thinking (CT) and support subject-specific curricula,
- identifies the informal skills young people bring with them to the labs and develops suitable ways of recognising these informal skills,
- formulates design principles that focus on linking informal skills through less-structured, non-formal education opportunities (in the context of formal educational goals),
- identifies the organisational conditions for success when schools and labs cooperate, and explores the transformation of professional roles, interpersonal relationships and postdigital practices in these socio-technical configurations.
We use a design research approach to explore the potential of labs as non-formal educational spaces and to understand how change unfolds within these processes. The learning scenarios will be developed and trialed at the FabLab Bremen e.V.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - in the framework of funding for the programme 'Designing education processes for the digital world' (Gestaltung von Bildungsprozessen unter den Bedingungen des digitalen Wandels) (Digitalisierung II)