Makerspace/FabLab Tours

One of the ideas that came out of our Makerspace/FabLab workgoup was to set up a series of tours to area Makerspaces/FabLabs. Tours would be structured to facilitate an exchange of ideas about effective use of a Makerspace/FabLab with the added context of the space within which those activities may occur.  Below is a description of what we are thinking.

If you are interested, let us know, we’d like to get started this spring.


Tour participants have a chance to visit Milwaukee area Makerspaces/FabLabs at area schools and outside organizations. This provides a first hand look at how the space is organized and a chance to hear from the host about the types of projects they run, and challenges they face.


Tours would happen once per month during the week after school– 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Tours would run during the school year (Sept. through May).


Learn Deep will coordinate the tour schedule with schools and outside organizations interested in hosting, and handle registration for each tour. Participants will provide their own transportation to host sites.


Visits will follow a standard format so that participants have a sense of what to expect. The agenda will include:

  • A tour of the space
  • Demonstration of one or more projects that are underway or have been completed using the space
    • Bonus points if students lead the demonstration
    • Bonus points if there is a hands on opportunity for participants
  • A chance for the space host to solicit ideas from tour participants about options to address issues or opportunities the host may have in making effective use of their facilities.

Hosting a Tour

The tour host will determine how many attendees they can reasonably accommodate.  Learn Deep will work with those interested in hosting a tour to schedule tour dates.

Makerspace/FabLab Workgroup: Discussion Notes

The first meeting of our makerspace/FabLab workgroup was held Tuesday evening at Ward 4.
We did a quick review of concerns, captured a vision of where we would like to head in a lean canvas, and talked through some ideas for how we might help move things along.


  • Physical space
  • Culture
  • Marketing the school
  • Process/problem solving
  • Impact is longer term
  • How do we sell [the idea of a maker space] to the community
  • Lack of tech-ed teachers
  • Distributed ownership of space– e.g. how do we get teachers to think of it as “theirs”
  • Who is coordinator/does this need to be an FTE?
  • Leadership support
  • Time commitment to coordinate use of space
  • Defining a clear purpose for the space
  • How to make the transition [from the current model of teaching]
  • How to capture evidence of learning
  • Resources — materials and equipment
  • Project Ideas
  • Lack of professional development opportunities [for teachers to become comfortable with space/projects.
  • Ability to respond to needs of business community
  • Community Access


School of the 21st Century


  • I don’t understand why school needs to change
  • I am afraid our current approach does not prepare kids for life in the future
  • My child is bored at school
  • I’m not seeing the return on my tax investment
  • I don’t know how to create a schedule to accommodate this change

  • Clear vision
  • Curriculum
  • Makerspace/FabLab
  • Staff aligned with goals of school
Value Proposition
Our solution enhances student engagement which results in [graduates] that are highly functional.


We develop our students to solve problems no one has considered yet.

Unique Advantage

  • Connection to M7
  • Willingness to collaborate
  • Strong art & tech programs
  • Leadership
  • Unique DNA (culture)

  • Students
  • Community
  • Business
  • Parents
  • Tax payer
  • School Leaders

  • # people surveyed
  • Engagement measure
  • Program engagement

  • Social media
  • Website
  • Parent night/events
  • Business/Community meeting
  • Showcase
  • Traditional Media
Cost Structure

  • Equipment
  • Remodeling
  • Teacher re-training
  • Staffing
  • Materials
  • Collaboration

  • Quality graduates
  • Engaged students
  • Improving community
  • Teacher fulfillment


Workgroup ideas to move towards vision

Makerspace/FabLab tours

  • After school
  • Show what I’m working on
  • Chance to ask for help/ideas
  • Visits to makerspaces in both schools and outside organizations


On-line Tools for Sharing

  • Ask for help
  • Share project ideas (Moodle)
  • Slack


Dream Lab Workshop

  • Weekend or during summer
  • Design your dream makerspace/FabLab


Build Curriculum Workshop

  • Summer bootcamp
  • Work as team to design makerspace/FabLab curriculum/projects
  • 2-4 days with coaching

South Milwaukee’s Fab Lab featured on Lake Effect

Monday’s Lake Effect show on WUWM features a piece on South Milwaukee High School’s Fab Lab. We connected Rachel Morello, WUWM’s education reporter with Erik Wolbach, who’s been the driving force behind the effort as part of our work to raise the visibility of the innovative work Milwaukee area schools are doing.

You can listen to the story here:

Doing great work at your school you’d like others to know about? Let us know and we’ll help get the word out.