FabLab, ELUS Collaborate to Expand K-12 Offerings at UTA Libraries

by Library News
January 9 2020

The FabLab is collaborating with UTA Libraries’ Experiential Learning and Undergraduate Success (ELUS) department to expand its offerings for local ISDs, scout groups, and more.

The K-12 workshops are part of a broader initiative throughout UTA Libraries to serve the communities surrounding UTA, elevating UTA as an academic institution of choice for prospective students and supporting the world’s future leaders prior to the beginning of an undergraduate program.

“UTA Libraries takes seriously our responsibility to the community beyond the walls of the university,” said Rebecca Bichel, Dean for UTA Libraries. “The programming in the FabLab, in conjunction with ELUS, addresses the needs of K-12 students and their educators, as well as the administrators of their institutions. We are proud of this work and will continue to explore new ways to serve our neighbors.”

Due to the popularity of makerspaces, the FabLab has looked for new ways to accommodate even larger groups, both in the Libraries and at off-site events. ELUS’s set of mobile experiential technologies have the potential to transform the FabLab’s K-12 offerings.

 “We are combining efforts with ELUS to provide access to a broader variety of tools that are accessible to a wider age range,” Peery said. “Our goal is to build out a suite of instructional options for potential K-12 visitors, allowing each group to select the activities that best align with their learning objectives.”

The FabLab and ELUS have collaborated twice already. The first was with Plano West High School’s Robotics Club—students demoed and discussed the robots they had created for the previous year’s competition for UTA students and participated in a robotics-themed Pitch-of-the-Week to practice their creative thinking and public speaking skills.

The second was a STEAM day for kids of all ages at the Keller Public Library. The FabLab brought a portable embroidery machine and vinyl cutter, while ELUS brought Bloxels and OzoBots. Combined, the two groups had enough tools to entertain and educate the crowd.

“UTA Libraries is dedicated to partnering with the local K-12 community to provide experiential learning opportunities focused on creativity, innovation, and risk-taking,” said Gretchen Trkay, Department Head for ELUS. “Along with growing the critical thinking and marketable skills of area students, we hope to share with future scholars that UTA is an amazing place to learn, grow, and achieve their dreams.”

Those interested in planning a visit to the FabLab can learn more on the FabLab’s website.