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Rhode Island Foundation Blog


We are proud to be part of the Rhode Island community! Follow our blog for the latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state.

Learning new ways to make it in the classroom
By Chris Barnett / September 22, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
Amie Shinego’s technology students at Thompson Middle School in Newport are experiencing something new this year: control. After they master some basic skills, her students can use her 3D printer and a vinyl cutter to make, well, whatever.

In past years, Shinego required her students to perform specific tasks in a tightly structured environment. Now, she is practicing the art of letting go. “I was scared that when I took away the control, I wasn’t going to see the same student performance,” she says. “That wasn’t the case.”

Shinego credits her transformation as a teacher to FabNewport. Our $21,000 grant is helping the nonprofit maker lab to teach K-12 teachers how to integrate “making” into their classrooms. It’s a journey FabNewport Executive Director Steve Heath savors.

“Every day I see the power of letting people create,” Heath says. “When students are interested, their curiosity drives their learning.”

FabNewport’s impact on Shinego is part of the many individual and organizational partnerships that is creating a ripple effect across a largely traditional educational system. Since launching in July 2013, more than 100 educators, like Shinego, have taken professional development courses.

That’s not all. FabNewport is working with dozens of schools, public libraries and community centers. Now more than 3,500 people have learned how to expand the way they think about problems and solutions in fun and innovative ways.
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