by David Kempskie
STEM labs are one of the spaces within an academic institution that students frequently enjoy during and outside of classroom time. The equipment and technology offered in these labs motivates students to come back during breaks to work on projects and participate in related after-school extracurriculars.
There are endless opportunities for designing and outfitting technical education labs so that students thoroughly use them at all levels. Here are a few of the many equipment and technology trends to consider when creating successful STEM labs.
Labs Designed for Flexibility and Collaboration
Project-based learning environments are critical to helping students gain 21st-century skills. STEM labs can be designed and outfitted as modular spaces that promote collaboration and maximize project-based learning. In these labs, students work with their peers and get hands-on experience with equipment and technology.
Equipment can move around the classroom when lab layouts are designed to consider equipment requirements. Universal Robots placed on wheeled carts with drawers and cabinets, and 3D printers, help bring the learning experience to the students. Tables on wheels placed around equipment offer flexibility in accommodating different size groups as they work together.
Fab Labs for More than Just 3D Printers
Fab labs have become a centerpiece to many STEM programs at all stages. A successful fab lab blends the school’s curriculum goals with the capabilities of the students, taking into account their skills and safety. For example, students can explore basic STEM activities with MakerBot 3D printers, Epilog laser cutters, and traditional woodshop tools at the elementary and middle school level. Students can use a wider variety of more complex equipment at universities, including Stratasys 3D printers, ProtoMAX waterjet cutters, Pensa Labs CNC wire formers, Techno CNC plasma cutters, and much more!
The Next Level in STEM is AI Labs
Students from the elementary to university level are learning how to apply abstract AI concepts to real-life scenarios. AI LABS by RobotLAB are turnkey, state-of-the-art modular learning stations where students rotate between AI stations for practical hands-on activities.
A high school AI LAB can include stations for practicing smart transportation, humanoid robotics, industry 4.0, and space exploration. A university AI LAB can include stations for mastering intelligent autonomous agents, smart warehouses, and human-robot interaction.
Creating STEM labs that inspire students’ creativity and provide them with new challenges will ensure success. Designing and outfitting a lab with the right equipment and technology will keep students engaged year after year.
David Kempskie is principal and founder of AET Labs.