Aug.11, 2012

In March 2012 Aaron, Eugene and Jason from Stanford launched SparkLab project aiming to help the use of technology in education growing.

The idea was very cool: with a delivery truck full of cutting-edge maker tools and software the three young men plan to travel from school to school in Bay Area bringing teachers and students the resources and equipment as well as their own expertise in making, education and technology.

The Kickstarter campaign brought in $31,276 to get the project rolling. The team re-vamped its project into SparkTruck and launched a cross-country summer tour which started in Aspen, CO on June 29th and will make its final stop of the trip at TEDx Manhattan Beach where the team will share stories from their four month-long adventures in making. In four months six Stanford students is traveling with their SparkTruck across the U.S., covering 13,000 miles.

The tools in SparkTruck are a laser cutter, two 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines and a clay oven, as well as hammers, scissors, hot glue guns, tape, and various craft supplies. SparkTruck will run workshops at schools, camps and museums in cities like San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston and Las Vegas.

(Images credit: fastcodesign)

The idea is to let kids create their design from scratch, letting them get a little stuck so they can figure out how to solve it. Chua said "students seem to have an idea that there's one right way to do things and they should be able to get it on their first try, and we are trying to show them that some of the best ideas come from a blueprint they make themselves."


"Our favorite age range to work with is 7-13 years old, because this is the range when opportunities to create and explore in school diminish, and pressure to conform and fit into standardized systems and tests increases," said coordinator Jason Chua. "We want to make sure that fun, open-ended opportunities are made available to kids as they move through school and life because this is what helps kids get over their fear of failure and grow confidence in their abilities to be creative and work through tough problems."

Watch the video below the team shares the story of project with an audience at the Stanford


It is always a problem we are short of engineers and skilled workforce in the industry. This could be an effective way to fire up kids' imagination and get children interesting in engineering and innovation. The concept itself is very valuable to society and they are really deserve to be supported by everyone who's able to help.

The results so far have been encouraging.

"It was really cool to see young makers dream up and build quirky robotic creatures and watch them crawl around on the tables." wrote SparkTruck in their blog. "Luckily for us, there are moments that make all of that stuff feel completely insignificant, like when a little girl gets her tiny motor successfully hooked up to a watch battery, feels the simple circuit in her hands begin to chirp, and wows herself, realizing that she, too, can be a maker."

Follow their tour and stories here and see their road trip schedule below - maybe your town will be their next stop!

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  • June 29: Aspen Ideas Festival (Aspen, CO)
  • July 1: Aspen Ideas Block Party (Aspen, CO)
  • July 3: Victory Branch Library (Boise, ID)
  • July 6-8: Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA)
  • July 9: Seattle Design Center (Seattle, WA)
  • July 10: Ada's Technical Books (Seattle, WA)
  • July 11: Highland Middle School (Bellevue, WA)
  • July 17: Aberdeen Timberland Library (Aberdeen, WA)
  • July 19: Oregon Zoo (Portland, OR)
  • July 20: Nike World Headquarters (Beaverton, OR)
  • July 20: ADX (Portland, OR)
  • July 24-August 2: San Francisco, CA
  • August 3: First Friday (Las Vegas, NV)
  • August 8: Boys & Girls Clubs of America SW Leadership Conference (Denver, CO)
  • August 11: Oak Park Library Idea Box (Oak Park, IL)
  • August 13: Edgebrook Branch, Chicago Public Library (Chicago, IL)
  • August 14: Chicago Children's Museum (Chicago, IL)
  • August 25: Medline Makes a Difference (Libertyville, IL)
  • August 28: Lake Pointe Elementary (Austin, TX)
  • August 29: Ojeda Middle School (Austin, TX)
  • August 30: Informal Educators focus group (Austin, TX)
  • August 31: UT Charter Elementary (Austin, TX)
  • September 3: Geekdom (San Antonio, TX)
  • September 5-6: Houston Children's Museum (Houston, TX)
  • September 9-10: Nashville, TN
  • September 12: Youth Workshops at WQED (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • September 13: Teacher Workshops at WQED (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • September 14: Schenley Plaza (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • September 15: Pittsburgh Children's Museum (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • September 17-18: Washington, D.C.
  • September 19-22: Baltimore, MD
  • September 22: Betascape (Baltimore, MD)
  • September 23-30: New York Metro area
  • October 2: Boston, MA
  • October 3: East Longmeadow, MA
  • October 13: TEDx (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Source: Sparktruk via fastcodesign


Posted in Fablabs



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