Mobile maker labs allow students to tinker and learn

16 August 2022

After a worldwide search to find the best in STEM learning technology for its students, Christ the King School in Beaconsfield is transforming how students engage with new technologies and develop important critical thinking skills.

The school’s new Tinker Carts are mobile maker labs on wheels, and contain a 3D printer, electronics, robotics and wood-working tools and materials.  Supported by the Tinker App software platform, the carts allow students in all year levels to innovate and problem solve, developing critical and creative thinking skills and supporting their cognitive development.

“At Christ the King School, the Tinker Carts are enabling classroom and specialist teachers to incorporate STEM into the learning experiences for students. So far, students have learnt how to design objects for the 3D printer using  design software, and they have used a variety of tools and consumables to create native bee hotels and sun shelters. The students are thoroughly enjoying the practicality of the experiences,” Principal Andrew Kelly said.

“The beauty of the carts is that they are portable.  They have a collapsible workbench and the capacity to have multiple power outlets and USB charging stations once plugged into mains power. In a nutshell, they are fantastically designed to be totally self-contained.

“At our school, all year levels have access to the Tinker Carts.  Students are learning how to design objects with the 3D printer and have used a variety of tools and consumables to create native bee hotels and sun shelters.”

Christ the King Primary School Principal Andrew Kelly

“The company, Super Humanics, have a supporting website with curriculum-aligned projects requiring students to complete an online journal as they conduct research and complete tasks within their project.

Mr  Kelly affirmed the importance of providing high-quality educational resources in schools to inspire students’ love of learning and equip them for jobs of the future.

He acknowledged and thanked the Hon Simone McGurk, Minister for Community Services, Children’s Interests and Women’s Interests, for supporting the initiative and the State Government for its election commitment to provide $20,000 towards the cost of obtaining the carts.

At the recent launch of the Tinker Carts, former Christ the King Assistant Principal Kristy Polimeno, who was a strong advocate for the project, said it  would provide students with skills such as problem solving, agility, critical and creative thinking, and innovation.

“The Tinker Carts give students more autonomy and agency in the classroom and entrust them with greater ownership of their learning outcomes. Students will not only learn how to follow a protocol, but also how to develop their own ideas, how to create a plan and then make and test the solution they have in mind,” Ms Polimeno said.

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