Marymount International School London is the first school in the UK to set up a fully equipped Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory), a state-of-the-art workshop equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools which can make “almost anything.”
The Fab Lab will be used to teach computer programming, coding, robotics and design – areas which straddle the disciplines of mathematics, physics and technology as well as art and design. Costing over £90,000, the lab is equipped with 3D printers, a 3D scanner, a laser cutter, a vinyl cutter, a sublimating printer, a large format printer and a number of notebook computers. The Fab Lab at Marymount School will be officially opened on 9th January 2015, by Baroness Susan Greenfield.
Sarah Gallagher, headmistress at the independent girls’ secondary school in Kingston upon Thames, said: “The curriculum we’ll be teaching using the Fab Lab is truly interdisciplinary, and has a strong focus on the need for creativity.
“Our sister school, Marymount New York, was one of the first girls’ schools in the US to set up a Fab Lab, and their insights and experience have helped us pioneer this new curriculum based on their innovative approach.”
Currently, schools in the UK wishing to access a Fab Lab can only do so via universities and independently run workshops. In line with the “open source” philosophy of Fab Labs UK and across the world, Marymount plans to open its Fab Lab to a wide range of users. The school has linked with local schools St Agatha’s and St. Joseph’s to offer an enrichment programme run by students with support from staff on a voluntary basis.
“As our students learn and gain proficiency in using the Fab Lab, the offering and engagement will inevitably grow,” said Mrs Gallagher. “All children attending the Saturday enrichment programme will be able to spend time in the Fab Lab and be introduced to its possibilities.”