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The 360 Blog

A 360-degree view of student-centered education, written by teachers and staff at Park Tudor School.

The New Art Fab Lab
By Heather Teets, Director of Fine Arts
Art Fab Lab

Fall 2018 marks the inauguration of the Art Fab Lab in the Fine Arts Department. As Park Tudor values a student-centered approach to education, the Fine Arts Department strives to provide authentic learning experiences that empower students to be active creators and innovators.

The mission of the Art Fab Lab is to foster a community of learners who collaborate and explore opportunities in varying design fabrication techniques and technologies in the Arts. Students learn how to design, plan and prototype projects through completion.

Research shows that makerspaces and fabrication labs have a significant impact on student learning and development. In 2015, the New Media Consortium (NMC) released the Horizon Report, which identified makerspaces as one of six important developments in educational technology for K-12 education. According to the NMC (2015),

Makerspaces are increasingly being looked to as a method for engaging learners in higher-order problem-solving through creative, hands-on design, construction, and iteration.”

Laser Cutter in the Art Fab Lab

Until recently, the only affordable things you could ‘make’ with a computer and printer were two-dimensional. Today, with cost-friendly additive (3D printers) and subtractive (laser cutters and vinyl cutters) technologies, our students can design objects with computer-aided software, such as Sketch-Up or Adobe Illustrator and ‘make’ prototypes in a variety of materials.

At Park Tudor, the Art Fab Lab promotes a flexible learning environment that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing of ideas, which places the students at the center of the educational process. The students bring their ideas forward and the faculty act as mentors. This environment fosters an experience in which faculty and staff members are often learning from students.

Seniors Joie Cao and Mia Lambert recently designed cell phone charger stands with the challenge to use sustainable materials, and a simple flat-pack design to consider ease of transport and cost. Joie and Mia created many prototypes, learning the intricacies of designing living hinges to bend wood in the process, ultimately creating two different, yet striking products.

Student Experiences in the Art Fab Lab

Joie Cao prototypes a phone stand in the Art Fab Lab

​What was the most important thing you learned while designing and creating your cell phone stand?

“Designing the phone stand was a test of patience. Mistakes only help you improve your next prototype, and I've learned to accept my failures. In the end, it was super satisfying to line up all my prototypes and see how far the design has come.”

How is your learning experience different in the Art Fab Lab vs. a standard classroom environment?

“The Art Fab Lab is much more personal. We're all learning together, and we experience small failures every day. I love how Art Seminar encourages you to make mistakes and learn from them. There are no right or wrong answers in this lab, and this creates an environment where we're unafraid to throw out crazy ideas. This is so different from the typical lecture & notes style of teaching and I love it.” 

What do you like about the Art Fab Lab?

“I like the setup of the room. We sit together in a circle and each person has their own workshop desk. Everything we need is in close proximity. Every wall has some sort of fancy technology for us to experiment with, from sewing machines to a 3d printer to a laser cutter. This is a room where inspiration hits you as soon as you walk in.”

Any other comments?

“There are too many fun things to play with and not enough time to try it all!” 


What would you make in the Art Fab Lab? Let us know in the comments!