What if there was a tool that taught kids dimensional thinking? That was simple enough that a 10-year-old could use it yet big enough that it could aid in projects that stand 6 feet tall?
We went to TinkrLAB recently to talk to Joe Rabideau. Joe is using the AP Lazer machine to do all these things and more. He told us about the online school that uses their facilities, “Life Tech Academy is a charter school that meets here three times a week. … We teach them about laser cutting and etching. … We do a lot of their technology classes right here.” The students get to learn about the mechanics of the laser machine while also learning how to design files and run them.
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Learning ≠ Taught
“The whole idea is to make sure that the learning atmosphere is fun. So much of learning is [memorization] but if you can attach an activity to it, if you can attach fun to it, then you’re going to remember it.”
They have engraved glass and wood but also shoes and even marshmallows. We are sure that all the kids visiting TinkrLAB will have fun.
Education for Everyone
Joe takes laser technology down to its most basic idea to explain it to all ages and education levels. “The best explanation that I’ve used is a magnifying glass. People understand that if you take a magnifying glass with the sun beating through it and move it up and down. You can create a pinpoint where it will start on fire. You’re taking all that energy and focusing on it. That’s the same thing that [the AP Lazer machine] is doing just with a bit more complexity.” That explanation can be beefed up for more advanced students. Even open the back cabinet to look at the laser tube and understand what technology goes into making it work.
“There isn’t any specific type of student that we’re finding [to be more excited about the laser machine]… You’d think it would just be technically oriented but it’s not. It’s a range,” Joe said. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, and AP Lazer machine is the ultimate STEAM machine. Lasers can be used to demonstrate science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics principles.
Watch more of the TinkrLAB interview:
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