“Fab Lab Connect is a platform that brings resources to technology innovators from the digital Fabrication Lab community to take them to the next level, whether creating startups or scaling up their solutions for social change. It is part of a movement initiated at MIT and driven by a community of over 1,000 Fab Labs in 97 countries sharing technology, innovation and fast prototyping to address global issues and locally fabricate solutions.”
Fab Lab Connect is a global technology innovation platform for social change and entrepreneurship. A bridge between innovators and sponsors.
Resources for STEAM
Resources by Topic:
The Benefits of STEAM
- STEM to STEAM: Art in K-12 is Key to Strong Economy: Learn how adding art and design elements to STEM approaches may help students be better prepared to solve the creative problems of the future. (Edutopia, 2012)
- The Art of Thinking Like a Scientist: Read about the links between the arts and STEM. (ASCD Express, 2014)
- Creativity is the Secret Sauce in STEM: Learn about the critical role creativity plays in science, technology, engineering, and math. (Edutopia, 2013)
- At the Crossroads of STEM, STEAM, and Arts Integration: Understand how interdisciplinary approaches can be pivot points across multiple content areas. (Edutopia, 2013)
Project-Based Learning and STEAM
- PBL and STEAM Education: Discover how combining the pedagogical model of PBL with the rich content area of STEAM can be a winning combination. (Edutopia, 2014)
- PBL Meets the Next Gen Science Standards: Read about the new engineering focus of the Next Generation Science Standards and how design challenges may align to the standards as a key component of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics education. (Edutopia, 2014)
- Creativity, Candy, and Commerce: Find out how middle school students brought curiosity and passion to their STEAM learning through the design, manufacture, and marketing of their own signature chocolate bars. (Edutopia, 2015)
- From Modern Farm to Sustainable Table: Teaching STEM and Humanities with Authenticity: Discover how one school uses an interdisciplinary PBL program to address content in biology, mathematics, social studies, and language arts; ninth graders conduct on-site sustainability studies, design hydroponic gardens, grow food, and engage in an Iron Chef cook-off. (Edutopia, 2014)
- In San Diego, Students Juxtapose Art and Science to Learn About the Deadliest Cancer: Find out how students at High Tech High Charter School use art and science with the context of project-based learning to learn about melanomas and increase melanoma awareness. (Hechinger Report, 2014)
STEAM-Powered Projects and Programs
- 5-Minute Film Festival: Arts Integration Turns STEM to STEAM: Watch a video playlist to learn about programs and projects around the country that are exploring STEAM learning. (Edutopia, 2015)
- Featured STEAM Case Studies: Explore case studies of STEAM in practice. (STEM to STEAM/Rhode Island School of Design)
- Growing From STEM to STEAM: Read about a STEAM experiment in one school district, and find several tips for school districts on how to get started with having the arts and sciences work together in STEAM. (ArtsEdge at the Kennedy Center)
- Q&A with David Cole: Why We Need the “A” in STEAM: Learn about a STEAM curriculum that combines traditional STEM skills with artistic practices. (Graphite, 2014)
STEAM Activity and Project Ideas
- 5 Reasons Why Origami Improves Students’ Skills: Explore ways to use origami, the ancient art of paper folding, as a STEAM engine for teaching geometry, thinking skills, fractions, problem solving, and fun science. (Edutopia, 2015)
- Over 25 STEAM Links Filled With Resources and Information: Find articles, project ideas, programs, and lesson plans to help inform STEAM curriculum planning. (21st Century Educational Technology and Learning, 2014)
- 24 Apps, Games, and Websites Teachers are Using in STEAM Classrooms: Browse a teacher-sourced list of teaching tools for various grade levels and subjects. (Graphite, 2014)
Examples From Schools That Work
Edutopia’s flagship series highlights practices and case studies from K-12 schools and districts that are improving the way students learn. Below, dive into a real-world example of STEAM in practice.
See how educators at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia, integrate PBL and STEAM to empower third grade students to take ownership of their education as they prepare for the next Snowpocalypse.
Project Based Learning (PBL)
Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills – The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question – The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry – Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity – The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice – Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection – Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision – Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product – Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
When transitioning to PBL, one of the biggest hurdles for many teachers is the need to give up some degree of control over the classroom, and trust in their students. But even though they are more often the “guide on the side” than the “sage on the stage,” this most certainly does not mean that teachers don’t “teach” in a PBL classroom. Many traditional practices remain, but are reframed in the context of a project.
Design & Plan
- Teachers create or adapt a project for their context and students, and plan its implementation from launch to culmination while allowing for some degree of student voice and choice.
Align to Standards
- Teachers use standards to plan the project and make sure it addresses key knowledge and understanding from subject areas to be included.
Build the Culture
- Teachers explicitly and implicitly promote student independence and growth, open-ended inquiry, team spirit, and attention to quality.
- Teachers work with students to organize tasks and schedules, set checkpoints and deadlines, find and use resources, create products and make them public.
Scaffold Student Learning
- Teachers employ a variety of lessons, tools, and instructional strategies to support all students in reaching project goals.
Assess Student Learning
- Teachers use formative and summative assessments of knowledge, understanding, and success skills, and include self and peer assessment of team and individual work.
Engage & Coach
- Teachers engage in learning and creating alongside students, and identify when they need skill-building, redirection, encouragement, and celebration.
If you would like to edit this document to add or update anything, please contact Josh@FabLabPlatform.com and you will be granted access to revise.
- Startup Tools Click Here
- Lean LaunchPad Videos Click Here
- Founding/Running Startup Advice Click Here
- Market Research Click Here
- Life Science Click Here
- China Market Click Here
How to Build a Startup
How To Build a Web Startup – The Lean LaunchPad Edition
Here’s the step-by-step process we suggest our students use in our Lean LaunchPad classes.
- Set up the logistics to manage your team
- Craft company hypotheses
- Write a value proposition statement that other people understand
- Set up the Website Logistics
- Build a “low-fidelity” web site
- Get customers to the site
- Add the backend code to make the site work
- Test the “problem” with customer data
- Test the “solution” by building the “high-fidelity” website
- Ask for money
(Use the Startup Tools Page as the resource for tool choices)
Step 1: Set Up Team Logistics
- Read Business Model Generation pages 1-72, and The Four Steps to the Epiphany Chapter 3
- Set up the Lean LaunchLab or a WordPress blog to document your Customer Development progress
- Use Skype or Google+ Hangouts for team conversations
Step 2. Craft Your Company Hypotheses (use the Lean LaunchLab)
- Write down your 9-business model canvas hypothesis
- List key features/Minimal Viable product plan
- Size the market opportunity. Use Google Trends, Google Insights, and Facebook ads to evaluate the market growth potential. Use Crunchbase to look at competitors.
- Calculate Total Available Market, and customer value.
- Pick market type (existing, new, resegmented)
- Prepare weekly 7-minute class progress summary: business model canvas update + weekly Customer Development summary (described after Step 10.)
Step 3: Write a value proposition statement that other people understand
- If you can’t easily explain why you exist, none of the subsequent steps matter. A good format is “We help X do Y by doing Z”.
- Once you have a statement in that format, find a few other people (doesn’t matter if they’re your target market) and ask them if it makes sense.
- If not, give them a longer explanation and ask them to summarize that back to you. Other people are often better than you at crafting an understandable value proposition.
Step 4: Website Logistics
- Get a domain name for your company. To find an available domain quickly, try Domize or Domainr
- Then use godaddy or namecheap to register the name. (RetailMeNot usually has ~ $8/year discount coupons for Godaddy You may want to register many different domains (different possible brand names, or different misspellings and variations of a brand name.)
- Once you have a domain, set up Google Apps on that domain (for free!) to host your company name, email, calendar, etc
- Read Learning how to code
For coders: set up a web host
- Use virtual private servers (VPS) like Slicehost or Linode (cheapest plans ~$20/month, and you can run multiple apps and websites)
- You can install Apache or Nginx with virtual hosting, and run several sites plus other various tools of your choice (assuming you have the technical skills of course) like a MySQL database
- If you are actually coding a real app, (rather than for class) use a “Platform As A Service” (PAAS) like Heroku, DotCloud or Amazon Web Services if your app development stack fits their offerings
- BTW: You can see the hosting choices of YCombinator startups here
Customer Discovery for the Web
Step 5: Build a Low-Fidelity Web Site
- Depending on your product, this may be as simple as a splash page with: your value proposition, benefits summary, and a call-to-action to learn more, answer a short survey, or pre-order.)
- For surveys and pre-order forms, Wufoo and Google Forms can easily be embedded within your site with minimal coding.
- Make a quick prototype in PowerPoint, or
- Use Unbounce, Google Sites, Weebly, Godaddy, WordPress or Yola
- For surveys and pre-order forms, Wufoo and Google Forms can easily be embedded within your site with minimal coding.
- Even non-coders should understand the coding buzzwords see here
For coders: build the User Interface
- Pick a website wireframe prototyping tool, (i.e. JustinMind, Balsamiq)
- 99 Designs is great to get “good enough” graphic design and web design work for very cheap using a contest format. Themeforest has great designs
- Create wireframes and simulate your “Low Fidelity” website
- Create a fake sign up/order form to test customer commitment. Alternatively, create a “viral” landing page, with LaunchRock or KickoffLabs
- Embed a slideshow on your site with Slideshare or embed a video/tour using Youtube or Vimeo
- Do user interface testing with Usertesting or Userfy
Step 6: Customer Engagement (drive traffic to your preliminary website)
- Start showing the site to potential customers, testing customer segment and value proposition
- Use Ads, textlinks or Google AdWords, Facebook ads and natural search to drive people to your Minimally Viable web site
- Use your network to find target customers – ask your contacts, “Do you know someone with problem X? If so, can you forward this message on to them?” and provide a 2-3 sentence description
- For B2B products, Twitter, Quora, and industry mailing lists are a good place to find target customers. Don’t spam these areas, but if you’re already an active participant you can sprinkle in some references to your site or you can ask a contact who is already an active participant to do outreach for you.
- Use Mailchimp, Postmark or Google Groups to send out emails and create groups
- Create online surveys with Wufoo or Zoomerang
- Get feedback on your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) features and User Interface
Step 7: Build a more complete solution (Connect the User Interface to code)
- Connect the UI to a web application framework (for example, Node.js, Rubyon Rails, Django, SproutCore, jQuery, Symfony, Sencha, etc.)
Step 8: Test the “Customer Problem” by collecting Customer Data
- Use Web Analytics to track hits, time on site, source. For your initial site, Google Analytics provides adequate information with the fastest setup. Once you’ve moved beyond your initial MVP, you’ll want to consider a more advanced analytic platform (Kissmetrics, Mixpanel, Kontagent, etc)
- Create an account to measure user satisfaction (GetSatisfaction, UserVoice, etc.) from your product and get feedback and suggestions on new features
- Specific questions, such as “Is there anything preventing you from signing up?” or “What else would you need to know to consider this solution?” tend to yield richer customer feedback than generic feedback requests.
- If possible, collect email addresses so that you have a way to contact individuals for more in-depth conversations.
Step 9: Test the “Customer Solution” by building a full featured High Fidelity version of your website
- Update the Website with information learned in Step 5-8
- Remember that “High Fidelity” still does not mean “complete product”. You need to look professional and credible, while building the smallest possible product in order to continue to validate.
- Keep collecting customer analytics
- Hearing “This is great, but when are you going to add X?” is your goal!
Step 10: Ask for money
- Put a “pre-order” form in place (collecting billing information) even before you’re ready to collect money or have a full product.
- When you’re ready to start charging – which is probably earlier than you think – find a billing provider such as Recurly, Chargify, or PayPal to collect fees and subscriptions.
For all Steps: Monitor and record changes week by week using the Lean LaunchLab
For Class: Use the Lean LaunchLab to produce a 7-minute weekly progress presentation
- Start by putting up your business model canvas
- Changes from the prior week should be highlighted in red
- Lessons Learned. This informs the group of what you learned and changed week by week – Slides should describe:
- Here’s what we thought (going into the week)
- Here’s what we found (Customer Discovery during the week)
- Here’s what we’re going to do (for next week)
- Emphasis should be on the discovery done for that weeks assigned canvas component (channel, customer, revenue model) but include other things you learned about the business model.
If you’re Building a Company Rather Than a Class Project
- Go through the legal steps of setting up a company. U.S. version here.
- Search the US Patent Office (for free) for similar trademarks to yours
- When you confirmed your product and identity, and obtained a good domain name, and a trademark you think you can own, register your company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, CrunchBase, and AngelList pages
- Incorporate the company
How to start a business:
Crowdsourcing is a testament to the power of collaboration. Hundreds and even thousands of individual efforts combine to create something world-changing. If you’re jumping into the chaotic world of crowdsourcing to fund your startup or passion project, you’ve got a lot of hectic days and coffee-fueled nights ahead. Running a successful campaign, standing out in a sea of creative projects, and coordinating all the moving pieces takes a lot of hard work.Use these tools and resources to stay on top of it all and start writing your own crowdfunding success story.
Step 1: Choose Your Platform