Going Virtual: A Fab Lab’s Response to STEM Distance Learning
Fab Lab El Paso is not just another Fabrication Laboratory! Specializing in K-12 educational programs, field trips, PD, and makerspace implementation, the grassroots nonprofit makerspace offers supplemental support to school districts located on the Texas/Mexico/New Mexico borderplex. Only a few months after launching a Mobile Fab Lab program, the global pandemic threw a wrench into operations, but in true Maker fashion The Lab pivoted and quickly produced an interactive Virtual Makerspace Tour, and three Virtual Field Trips to bring Maker Ed to students in the comfort and safety of their homes. Hear from STEM Education Manager, Michael Nelson, who has 10 years of experience in gifted education, STEAM integration, and Maker Ed. Find out how he and his team navigated the pandemic to provide unique and engaging educational opportunities and what their plans are for the uncertain future that lies ahead.
Michael Nelson is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Social Studies and Secondary Education. Since 2013 he has worked on Gifted and Talented program design and has served the El Paso community through after school programs, summer camps, hands-on field trips, and competitions all designed around STEAM integration. Mr. Nelson has presented at local and state educational conferences, and has trained teachers in professional development on Makerspace skill sets and the use of 3D printers, Virtual Reality, Animation, Coding, and Robotics.