Milwaukee Public Schools have unveiled a new digital fabrication laboratory -- or "Fab Lab."
District officials said the Fab Lab will expose students to high-level technology that develops creativity and innovation.
The Fab Lab, at Washington High School in Sherman Park, was bankrolled by a $25-thousand grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
It contains equipment like vinyl cutters, 3-D printers, a laser engraver, and a 3-D scanner.
The district purchased the computers that power the machines.
"We have so much energy going into this," said Angelena Terry, Washington H.S.'s Assistant Principal In Charge. "All the students are very excited about what's happening."
The Fab Lab will allow students to create a wide array of 3-D items like model houses, t-shirt logos, or wooden display signs.
Terry said it will be available for use as an extracurricular activity. It will also be tied in to classes starting next school year.
"As students are designing things in the classroom, then they'll have the opportunity to get away from the pen and paper and come here and make things," Terry said.
District officials also hope the Fab Lab will increase student engagement.
"We know students learn better when they're actually doing - not just sitting and reading about something but being able to actually experience it," Terry said.
Kenique Lee, a Washington H.S. senior who plans to major in graphic design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design this fall, said he thinks the hands-on experience he's gaining in the Fab Lab will help him in the future.
"This helps me get more involved with the technology that we have here, and most people don't have the chance to use machines like this," Lee said.
MPS plans to create more Fab Labs within the district in the coming years.
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