Nathan Hale High School clerk and treasurer Vicki Lynch and librarian Alice Rathe also now proudly hold the title of Fab Lab coordinators after they spent the summer transforming the library into a creative haven of technology for students.
“The Fab Lab. The fabulous laboratory. It is a place where kids and adults can come and play and dream and create and just let their imaginations run wild,” said Vicki.
She said that the idea came from her and Alice’s shared love of creating.
“Alice Rathe and I have collaborated for twelve years together. We just like playing and making things ourselves, personally.” she said. “We started out as scrapbooking moms. We just enjoy doing this, and kids like it.”
Alice started by bringing in Legos, SPHEROs, and cubelets for the students to try out.
“They just latched on to all these things,” said Vicki. “I think they felt free to just be able to play and be kids. We just said, ‘Here.’ We didn’t give them any instructions. We didn’t do anything.”
They let the students explore and create on their own, and it quickly became apparent that this is where the library resources needed to be focused.
“We just wanted to expand all this to kids, and we knew that we had to change the way were teaching. We had to change the tools we were using to teach,” said Vicki. “Our kids needed a different, better way.”
The Fab Lab is filled with a bounty of equipment for students to use for class projects or during their free time.
They will have access to:
- two laser cutters and engravers
- three 3D printers
- vinyl cutter
- two heat presses
- robotics kits
- Raspberry Pi computers
- Lego Mindstorms kits
- SPHERO robot balls
- Cubelets robot blocks
- Animation and stop motion gear
- Padcasters for mobile video production
- screen-printing equipment
- audio booth
- Chromebooks for programming
Vicki hopes the lab will continue to grow and provide more opportunities for students to create, and that teachers will utilize it to make their assignments more dynamic. She also hopes they will be able to share the lab with the community in the future.
“Let them come and visit, if they have an idea and they want to make a project, let them make a project,” she explained. “We would like to extend it throughout Tulsa Public Schools. If you have a need that our students can fulfil, let them do it.”