WHAT DO YOU DO?
Patrick Benfield runs a campus FabLab at the Magellan International School in Austin, Texas, where he also serves as the school’s Innovation Director. The FabLab is a place for students to engage their creative sides by applying their ideas to different craft making machines.
WHAT DO YOU USE THE FORMBOX FOR?
At the FabLab, Patrick collaborates with teachers from a plethora of subjects including art, science and geography, in order to create engaging content that can then be used in their respective lesson plans. The FormBox is accessible and easy to use, meaning that students of all ages can have a go on it without much oversight or the need for assistance. It is currently being tested in one classroom at the school with a view to rolling it out to others.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE PRE-FORMBOX?
- Time: 3D Printing is a time-consuming endeavour and only one student’s idea could be chosen to make per class — often leading to charges of favouritism. Classes are 45 minutes long and a 3D print takes at least two hours to make.
- Accessibility: It was not possible for every student to have a chance at using the 3D printer — many only had the opportunity to look at it. This meant the students weren’t able to see mass production in action: their experience limited purely to one-off products.
- Narrow choice of materials: 3D printers can only be used with a limited range of materials.
- Dearth of outcomes and ideas: A lack of project ideas and a restricted range of outcomes meant an inability to think outside the box.
HOW DID THE FORMBOX SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS?
- Time: The speed of the FormBox means every student can have a go making their own product and gaining first-hand experience in how things are made.
- Accessibility: The FormBox can mass produce objects allowing each student to take something different home from each class.
- Narrow choice of materials: The FormBox allows students to work with a variety of materials including chocolate, concrete and many more.
- Dearth of outcomes and ideas: With its speed and variety the FormBox encourages experimentation. The online resources available at Mayku.me further expand these opportunities.
- Hands-on learning and more engaged students
- A huge variety of products made
- Experimentation encouraged