Air Force Research Lab helps teachers establish ‘Makerspaces’ within schools

A group of local teachers are likely putting together a plan on how to add a unique, creative space to their schools, all thanks to the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“Makerspace,” is an area in which students can use high-tech technology for lessons and projects.

This upcoming school year, students from three Albuquerque Public Schools will be able to use it to further their education.

“Our three-year plan for our teachers is that we’ll a have a mentorship program where we take on mentees within our school so we train them on all the software and equipment so all the teachers are versed on it,” said Rachel Castle, Family Consumer Science teacher at Cleveland Middle School.

“As far as our students, the plan is to have a class where a colleague is going to teach it. We’re going to have a beginner, intermediate and advanced level. By the time they get to the advanced level, teachers can have their class come in and his students will run the entire Makerspace,” she said.

For the two weeks, dozens of teachers with a variety of backgrounds have been on Kirtland Air Force Base learning how to establish a Makerspace within their schools. 

Research Lab officials have been showing them how to use 3D printers, laser cutters, CAD software, and other electronic tools.

Teachers took those skills they learned to build their own projects, such as robots.

Research Lab officials say very few schools have technology like this, so they’ve given the teachers all of the tools and equipment to take back to their school.

“We know a lot of the schools don’t have any creative outlets for making things these days. Shop classes are no longer around. This is essentially the new age shop but it also incorporates art and a variety of other things,” said Oscar Martinez, Program Manager at the AFRL.

Officials say the “Makerspaces” will be available to all of the students in the school, either through after-school clubs or electives.

This is the first time the Air Force Research Laboratory is doing the pilot program.

They’re hoping to expand the program to even more schools once they see what these schools were able to create during the upcoming school year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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