Through a marvelous google search accident, I came across the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Stanford University and their FabLab@School. As I direct our Architecture Summer Career Workshop, I knew that many elementary schools and high schools had access to digital fabrication, but I had not seen such a formalized curricular approach as this. Its amazing, though not surprising, to see that Seymour Papert is their inspiration. Papert was a protege of developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, and Papert wrote several notable books on technology and learning, such as his book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas as well as The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. While these are much topics discussed today, these books were written in 1993 and 1994. What’s more, is that Papert was a leading force at MIT’s Media Lab, which was a spin off from the Architecture School at a time when architecture education was not truly ready to embrace the computer (taking perhaps 3 decades to finally come along!), along with pioneering Architectural education William Mitchell. Papert wanted to make mathematical concepts graphical and relational, and so developed the very early software program LOGO. Growing up in the Silicon Valley before it was coined the Silicon Valley, I was in elementary school myself taking a special evening class on LOGO on an Apple II, and I have no doubt whatsoever that this has had a huge impact on my cognitive development as a young child. To say nothing of the fact that LOGO should be seen as part of the ancestral lineage of significant architectural software developments today such as Grasshopper.
We will definitely have to mine this site, find ties to Stanford, and discuss this further in studio.