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From a simple idea, a FABLAB was born!

Thanks to the will of the deputy director and the members of the creation committee, the Sorel-Tracy Vocational Training and Adult Education Center recently launched its FABLAB, this manufacturing laboratory using machine tools controlled by computers. The École branchée was there.

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Just over a year ago, the project of a FABLAB at Sorel-Tracy Vocational Training and Adult Education Center seemed like a far-fetched idea. However, thanks to the will of the deputy director and the members of the creation committee, the CFPEAST very recently launched its FABLAB, this manufacturing laboratory using machine tools controlled by computers. The École branchée was there.

Equipped with more than ten tools, the creative laboratory will allow students to apply lessons learned in the classroom and to experience in a concrete way technologies that are sometimes unknown, but likely to be useful in the job market and in the workplace. daily life.

"One of our objectives is to get students to take a certain distance from their books in order to turn to concrete applications," said Sylvain Cloutier, deputy director of CFPEAST. We therefore want to develop technological, social and creative skills at home so that they are able to use them in the jobs of the future. "

Thus, to help them develop the 21st century skills, the FABLAB has among others a 3D printer, a laser cutter, an embroidery machine, sewing machines, robots such as the Sphero and Mindstorms EV3, virtual reality headsets, laptops, tablets and an interactive whiteboard.

Projects intended for all pupils of the Center can also be carried out locally. For example, it is possible to perform 3D modeling and of extrusion using the 3D printer. For this type of activity, the site thingiverse is full of educational resources classified by grade level and subject and becomes interesting for adult education, since students come from various age groups. Activities related to robotics are also very interesting, particularly in science and technology and mathematics. "Using the Mindstorms EV3, my secondary 2 mathematics students were able to represent the measurements of a plan in a much more concrete way. Without this robot, they had a lot of difficulty getting there, ”said a math teacher.

In fact, the limits to carrying out projects will be those of the imagination and, judging by the reception of teachers and students towards FABLAB, the craze is growing.

Operating mode

For the proper functioning of the FABLAB, a committee made up of teachers, educational advisers and a member of the management was set up from the very start of the project. During their meetings, the members of the committee drew up a list of needs, the means to meet them and the tools available on the market to achieve them. Training was also offered to teachers so that they master the tools and can give them full benefit to the students. An apparitrice is also present 25 hours per week to support the teachers in the use of the tools and in the realization of the various projects.

Beyond the educational project

In addition to being profitable for learning, the FABLAB turns out to be an excellent transmission belt between the Center and the entrepreneurial community. Within a year, Mr. Cloutier even wants to be able to sell objects designed in the laboratory, then, within two years, he would like to open the FABLAB to the community so that people can use the tools.

About the Author

Felipe Antaya
Felipe Antaya
Pursuing studies in educational technology, Felipe Antaya has worked for several years in the field of education at the secondary and college level. Holder of a master's degree in Quebec studies and a bachelor's degree in philosophy, he has also worked in the field of written media.

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