When we started the Fab Lab initiative, we
thought originally this would be for alternative education student. We were
all wrong with this whole thing. We originally thought we weren’t going to
bring this to mental health students, these are the students that really need
this the most. The students at Intermediate Unit 1
Colonial Campus primarily are from comprehensive therapeutic emotional
support classrooms. Many of our students were not successful in their home schools. When it came to pencil and paper work, taking tests, worksheets. The Fab Lab is basically a place, or a makerspace, where students can come in and think
creatively. And they utilize a bunch of different equipment. So we have laser
cutters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers. We have ShopBots, we have sewing machines, we do embroidery. I taught math in this building for 15
years, you know, so I knew what the students were like in the classroom. And then when I became the teacher in the Fab Lab, I saw a drastic change and the students that would put their head down or sleep, they come into this environment
in the Fab Lab, and they’re one of my top students. Our social workers are trained
in all this equipment, and so they come in here and work side by side with the
students and the teachers, and now the students don’t view them as someone
that’s just coming in and trying to pull this information from them. I definitely think working in the Fab Lab has changed us. It’s made me think that, like, I’m more confident, that I can do more things that I thought that I
couldn’t do. It makes me feel like I’m actually a little bit smarter, and I can do a lot more. I can help people. It just makes me feel good. A laser cutter is not going to change
the culture of your building. A vinyl cutter is not going to do that. But
really people change the culture and so really it’s getting to understand people,
and it’s getting that core group of people together to make those small
changes, and those small changes then lead to significant changes.