Here Comes the SparkTruck!
With a cross country road trip in a "build-mobile," Stanford project encourages kids to never stop making.
Make way for the SparkTruck.
The rolling, mobile learning lab is coming to the Oak Park Public Library on Saturday, bringing with it a simple concept: That kids want to be creators. Makers. Doers.
“The ‘high-tech’ tools we have in the truck are a laser cutter, two 3-D printers, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines and a clay oven. We also have a wide assortment of ‘low tech’ tools such as hammers, scissors, hot glue guns, tape, and various craft supplies,” coordinator Jason Chua told Fast Company. “We use these tools in tandem with one another--the high-tech tools like the laser cutter and vinyl cutter get people excited and allow them to create more durable final products and low-tech tools allow for more freedom of expression and hands on tinkering.”
The project, made possible by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that raised $31,000, was the creation of a group of Stanford University students intent on restoring imagination in education. From the project's home page:
All we knew was that while the standardized system of learning worked well for some students, many other kids (and teachers) found rigid standards and the mentality of “teaching to the test” to be uninspiring and not so fun. Worse still, after spending a couple months hanging out at schools, we found that this top-down, “check these boxes” learning system had conditioned kids to fear being “wrong,” and created an environment of learned helplessness.
On Saturday, the team will offer a workshop for kids ages 7 through 13 beginning at 2 p.m. outside the OPPL Main Branch, 834 W. Lake St. After that, they'll host demonstrations of 3-D printing and many more cool tools inside the SparkTruck.
Interested? Better get out there. Saturday's appearance in Oak Park is just a cameo. After that, the learning road trip continues to Chicago, then Texas. Here's the rest of the schedule.