Blog #7

Promoting digital Spaces in VET education

Genoveva Ponce Buenestado, Guillermo Rodríguez Martínez – PIQUER
A new training program that brings digital spaces to Basic VET Programmes

¿What is GarageLab?

It is a digital fabrication laboratory within a VET education center.

The Aim of Garage Lab

GarageLabs aims to provide Basic VET Programmes the necessary equipment and training, so that they can develop through the Fab Lab environment and the maker movement:
  • A proposal for their students that transforms the teaching processes, learning and personal growth
  • A methodology that seeks to promote learning in a different and meaningful way and reduce the school absenteeism of young people who study these studies.

Training in digital creation and manufacturing

The project is also taking care of teachers training in digital creation and fabrication, offering them:
  • A first contact with the maker context
  • Programming and 2D / 3D software
  • Manufacturing through technologies for laser cutting
  • Electronic prototyping and 3D printing.

The Origin of GarageLab

The project started in 2016, and along the way, more than 500 students from eight schools in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastián have worked on the development of digital projects achieving not only that the learning has been more significant, but that the school dropout rate by more than 12% and increased motivation for student learning students by more than 60%.
For their part, the participating centers form a collaborative network that shares experiences and encourages learning. Currently there are eight centers that already have a GarageLab; one of them is Centro de Formación Padre Piquer.

Garage Lab Project in Centro de Formación Padre Piquer

Our Garage-Lab presents a proposal for students that transforms their teaching, learning and personal growth process. In addition to provide them with the equipment (3D Printer, Laser Cutter and Vinyl Cutter), the project uses a methodology that seeks to promote learning in a different and significant way, and to reduce the school absenteeism of young people.

In the first phase of the program, the students themselves have participated in the transformation of a standard classroom into a “maker” space that would accommodate the manufacturing machines, as well as the necessary computer equipment and adequate furniture to promote cooperative work.

Students are the protagonists from the first moment, when designing and building the GarageLab using participatory design and self-construction techniques, accompanied by architecture and design professionals.

After designing and building the Garage Lab, the students have worked on a specific Project using the Garage Lab tools and space.

Student’s Project in Padre Piquer Garage Lab

Through the Design Thinking technique, a transversal project has been developed, which involves several of the common modules that are studied in the first year of VET education, both in electricity and in administrative services.

Work groups of four mixed students (electricity and administration) were formed and the different tasks were structured. The result was a robot and a 3D model designed by the students in which the reality of the Iberian Peninsula in Roman times was reflected.

It has been fundamental in the development of the Project, that students can put into practice their own ideas to address issues in the environment that concern them, have spaces to reflect, investigate and generate ideas. They have been able to organize teamwork, communicate their achievements and feel empowered to face new challenges both inside and outside of the classroom.