FabLearn Fellows 2020 Application

New Call for Columbia University FabLearn Fellows (2020-2022 Cohort)

Updated Deadline: Sept 20th, 2020

The FabLearn Program and the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Columbia University in New York City are pleased to open applications for the third cohort of FabLearn Fellows. Each FabLearn Fellow — an educator in formal, informal, or alternative learning environments — is a pioneer in generating ideas, best practices, and open-source resources for makerspaces, fab labs, and other spaces for creative educational work. FabLearn Fellows are also global ambassadors communicating the value of constructionist learning, culturally-aware pedagogies, educational equity, and diversity.

The theme for this new call is “Cultural Making.” We want to engage diverse educators from all over the world in documenting ways that maker education is happening around the planet. We are interested in how local ideas, culture, and practices are both inspiring and being inspired by maker education, and how we can build a more diverse and meaningful movement. This work is inspired by non-US scholars such as Freire, D’Ambrosio, and Nunes, who have created frameworks to incorporate the cultural practices of children and their communities into learning activities.

One of the key productions of the 2020 cohort will be an edited book, authored by the Fellows — “Cultural Making Around the World” — a comprehensive, global portrait of making practices using high-, low-, or no tech. We want to document and tell the stories of people using traditional digital fabrication but also alternative materials, such as recycled electronics, low-cost robotics, eco-friendly materials, bioplastics, clay, wood, natural fibers, and traditional textiles. We are also interested in how educators from around the world are adapting their maker-inspired activities to the new COVID-19 scenarios, either during the social distancing periods or after.

This 24-month commitment (October 2020 – September 2022) will provide teachers and educators with the resources to make their own successful education activities and experiences in makerspaces into shareable, open-source educational materials. This program targets educators who are either actively using or building makerspaces or fab labs, or who work in any alternative spaces in which children engage with the creation of objects–even if they do not have digital fabrication technologies.

The new cohort will join a growing community of Senior FabLearn Fellows who will mentor and guide new fellows, and your participation will contribute to high-impact research and outreach all over the world. FabLearn Fellows have made real impact in their own communities by advancing the ideals of constructionist learning and culturally-aware pedagogies locally and globally, and in doing so, have been able to explore new materials, approaches, pedagogies, and advance their own work with students.

Fellows’ activities

  • Webinars and talks: participation in a monthly webinar for experience-sharing, discussions, and special talks by renowned scholars and practitioners.
  • Open-source curricula development: contribution to an open-source library of curricular resources for maker education, including for “making at home” activities.
  • Experience sharing: Fellows will have access to a website where they will contribute short reflective journal entries, and receive feedback from other fellows, teachers, and researchers. Fellows will also generate at least three public blog posts per year, which will be publicized to makerspaces, fab labs, and other educational media outlets.
  • Book writing: Fellows will contribute to a book that will collect maker education stories, practices and cases: “Cultural Making Around the World”. This book will join the previous two volumes of “Meaningful Making” books which have reached tens of thousands of educators worldwide.
  • Community building: FabLearn Fellows are incentivized to help create local communities with the Senior FabLearn Fellows to support other educators in their regions.
  • FabLearn Conference participation: FabLearn Fellows will be invited to a special session in the FabLearn conference held online in October 2020 and possibly at Columbia University in 2021 (COVID-19 permitting)

All materials created by Fellows as part of the FabLearn Fellows program will carry open-source licenses (but Fellows will still be fully credited and maintain authorship over their materials), and all publications will be publicly accessible.

Travel assistance for FabLearn 2021 in New York City

We intend to offer need-based financial assistance for Fellows to travel to NYC for the FabLearn 2021 conference. Due to the implications and uncertainty of COVID-19, at this point, we are unable to know the precise amount of the travel assistance (if any) that will be available, but as the pandemic scenarios become more clear, we will do our best to secure funding for that goal.

Who should apply

  • You are an educator in formal and/or informal learning space (public or private schools, museums, after-school and outreach programs, foundations, communities, villages, urban and rural environments, etc.)
  • You should be directly engaged in working with children or youth in some maker-related or inspired program, which includes alternative spaces in which children engage with the creation of objects even if they do not have any digital equipment.
  • You must be able to share information about your program publicly.
  • You are able to commit sufficient time to the writing, sharing, and community-building aspects of this project.
  • Applications from educators working with underrepresented or underprivileged students are encouraged, especially from developing countries.

Application form

The application period for the 2020-22 FabLearn Fellows Program will be open until the updated September 20th, 2020, at 11:59pm USA Eastern Time deadline. Apply here: https://forms.gle/7CBdro8TS3u2Wqs6A

On the application form, apart from contact and work information, your main task will be to write short responses (200 words max) to these questions:

  • Why is maker-inspired education important?
  • Describe your experiences with making and/or digital fabrication.
  • Write about a specific project you worked on with your students during which you learned something powerful or new.
  • How is digital fabrication and making in your school, community, or organization being connected to local culture, materials, practices, and lives of students?
  • Explain what you expect to learn from joining the FabLearn Fellows Program, how your students will benefit, and how it might advance your career or project.

Even though the answers should be given in English, to ensure wider participation from all countries, we will take into consideration that many international candidates are not native English speakers and thus not evaluate the quality of the writing.

We look forward to reading your responses!

More about the FabLearn Fellows Program

For questions, please email: info@fablearn.net