This project teaches next generation manufacturing strategies to students by building on the successful Fab Lab concept. Fab Labs are off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools combined with open source software. Fab Labs allow students to create or invent, then build their creations. The act of creation and building motivates students to study STEM. To measure this effect, the project is assessing how well the Fab Labs develop deep and long term connections between students and STEM study. The project is then using these assessments to formulate a model for attracting and sustaining students in the study of STEM fields. Using Fab Labs, the project is developing a Learning Community to help drive technician education nation-wide. The project builds the Learning Community by collaborating with four ATE Centers spanning 20 schools and organizations. The collaboration is implementing Fab Labs as they share problems, solutions and expertise and further integrates existing resources into new course offerings. Using webinars, workshops, mentoring, web portals and a national symposium, the program's materials and resources are being widely disseminated to encourage others to use the resources being developed. On the site, visitors will find information about the project, resources, equipment, and how to start a Fab Lab.
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