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Education and Learning


Education and Learning

Referenced Page: 
Education and Learning

Our spaces offer communities and members many opportunities for education and learning. Many spaces are already offering classes and programming on a variety of topics ranging from:

  • Arduino
  • Art making
  • Avoiding a zombie attack
  • Alliteration

This blog post serves as the Space Federation's primary communications channel for talking about how to advance education and learning through our spaces. 

Also reference the Notebook pages which are established for Education and Learning--please feel free to contribute your class and program ideas there.

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Do other spaces have any sort of accredidation on education?


Not that I have heard. However, there's no reason we couldn't get an accreditation of some sort. It takes a lot of work to do that! Back in 2005, the School Factory received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (through a local organization designed to disburse funds) to create a charter school. We designed a secular, all-girls Global Studies high school, and a Buckminster Fuller School of Design Science. The grant was available to help us develop a school model and launch it--so we spent two years, got a charter from our city, and then the real estate market tanked. I'd love to try to do this again, because I think if we could create a real charter school, modeled with open, hacker, maker values as well as other winning educational concepts like project based learning and constructivism, we could make a successful school.


There is a rather blurry line between Hackerspaces and FabLabs - especially now that there are several FabLabs that are NOT associated with colleges (2yr or 4yr).  I met a number of people at the symposium who consider their spaces both.


In today's call-in someone mentioned the NSF Informal Science Education RFP  This looks very interesting.  Are people here interested in putting together a response?

I was also looking at the NSF SBIR for Educational Applications  which seeks specific (computer) apps.


Sparkfun has *finally* opened up their Education Website. I'd heard about this from Craig Linz their educational director last year at Maker Faire San Mateo. Lots of it are stubs at present but there are some gems here.  


SparkFun’s Department of Education is proud to welcome you to the SparkFun education website – Here you’ll find all sorts of goodies relating to education and electronics. The DoE (Department of Education) started in February of 2011 working towards making electronics and technology a more integrated part of the education curriculum all over the world. We provide resources for educators to teach 21st century hardware and software skills. Every day we’re dedicated to rounding up people from all different walks of life and getting them interested in the world of electronics. Our goal is to create fun and hands-on ways of helping people learn skills that will last a lifetime. We love to watch people come up with innovative projects and hope our site will offer some help along the way. Welcome, and enjoy your journey! 

If you have any questions about the site please contact

We look forward to collaborating with you! 


Hello all,

We (Bloominglabs) have conducted numerous workshops at our space and out in the community (for example, at Bloomington's science museum for children, Wonderlab). Topics have included Arduino, soldering (through-hole and surface mount), C programming, and so on.

All of these have been conducted by members. There are people in the community interested in hosting workshops, and we think that'd be great in terms of offering more to the community and making people aware of us, but I wondered how do people usually handle this with people outside the group. Do you have some flat fee for use of the space, and then the teacher collects whatever the fee is for the class? Do you divide up the class fees? Something else?

Many thanks,



There is a Wiki page on Education at - for collecting links and/or creating public sub pages on classes and other resources.  I posted a link there back to our Education and Learning notebook.


i'm thinking the basics of what we need for cirriculum includes the following

  • class description : promotions
  • class curriculum : contingency trees
  • class materials : reference and objects
  • setup for class itself
  • lecture outline
  • session itself
  • FAQ


Everyone should have a looksee at this, too:


Ok, I was just turned on to another NSF grant that is ripe for Makespaces ...


Program Title:
Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)
Synopsis of Program:
ITEST supports the research and development of innovative models for engaging K-12 students in authentic experiences that build their capacity to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. ITEST projects must include students and may include teachers.
My idea is to submit a 2 year plan to develop an open source makerspace based STEAM program that could be taught in a school or as an afterschool program (eg maker scout).  It would focus on hands on projects in Maker type STEAM tech (electronics, arduinos, 3d printing, programming) with some practical applications (eg garden/greenhouse control). 
First 3-6mo would be developing the curriculum with a small group of kids & projects (expecting changes enroute). Then it would scale up to larger group over longer period or several distributed groups (i.e. at several Space Federation spaces). And wrap up with evaluations and plans to pass it out to rest of the world as free and open courseware... perhaps with teacher training seminars at Space Federation Spaces that could bring some $ back to the spaces.  Primary costs would be a) salaries b) equipment/space rental c) materials/supplies d) overhead (legal/accounting, etc).
I'm a bit committed on projects now, but would LOVE to see this get going... kinda like that O'Reilly/MAKE are doing with DARPA $$ but on a smaller scale and intended for existing spaces (rather than buying all new equipment, etc).
A Letter of Intent is due by Sept 20.  Anyone want to collaborate?


Jerry, I can already tell you we're interested.

We're just about halfway through our "OlyMEGA Summer Sessions", a 12-week series of classes on Programming, Robotics, and Radio. We've just assembled our robot chassis, which was designed by one of our members, and lasercut at a local shop. Once we give the little guys some smarts, we're going to add remote control and IR sender/receivers, and finish off the class with a big game of robot laser tag

A lot of the original thinking that went into these classes centered around establishing ourselves as an alternative or supplementary venue for students to learn about science and technology.

We're also waiting to hear back on the possibility of being able to inhabit a MUCH larger (~8000sqft) former church-turned-music-studio that has been abandoned for about 5 years. If that pans out, we'll have plenty of space to conduct classes (our max headcount is about 8 right now in the 14x14 classroom area) but we'll also have some serious renovations on our hands.

Pursuing grants in order to establish ongoing educational programs at the space is definitely something we've discussed, but haven't actively gone after any yet - to be honest, the effort of organizing the classes had a lot to do with that! Fortunately I was "programming guy" and my module is done for now :)

This looks really tailor made, like you said, for existing spaces to use to expand their programs into more structured education - exactly where we wanna go.

I don't personally know a thing about grant writing. I know at least a couple members have mentioned in the past that they have some experience with it. Do you or any of your members have experience? I'm certainly interested in learning about the process, but it seems like one fraught with mis-steps, so I'd rather leave it to those who know better :)

I'll forward this on to a few more in the group who aren't on the atrium. We're having a big org meeting on the 30th, which will make it a good time to bring it to everyone's attention.


Digging a bit into the RFP - we need an education non-profit (or university or similar) to front for this.  I think SpaceFederation/SchoolFactory should qualify nicely.

It would be very awesome to have a couple spaces working on classes - and then we can do a compare and contrast study, to make NSF happy about evaluation/assessment part.

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