Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Summer Camp 2018 Information

Philosophy and Learning Processes

All of our camps are designed to help participants come up with new ideas, solve problems, and make things. We strive to create an environment where design thinking flourishes, meaning that campers (and patrons) usually learn through the iteration of prototypes made using our tools. Practically, this means trying things, sometimes failing, returning to the design, and trying again. We believe that this approach encourages campers to cultivate creative thinking and determination in addition to exposing them to new technologies.

Our camps are also designed to inspire the development of cross disciplinary skills. A camper learning about art in video game design will come away from the experience having learned about creating digital art, video game logic, and storytelling. Campers learning to sew are also learning about digital design through digital embroidery and are gaining spatial skills through the geometry fundamental to sewing.

Last, we believe that campers across all of our camps experience immense satisfaction in seeing things from their imagination brought to life, whether it is a 3D print from a Minecraft model they built or an animated video they created. Campers love hands-on learning and take great pride in what they create.

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What do Campers Actually Take Home From the Fab Lab?

Fab Lab camps introduce learners to powerful software and tools designed for creating. We encourage campers to explore the process of design while learning practical skills, from sewing to coding. Participants leave camp with skills they are eager to share and we encourage families to return during open hours to continue learning, exploring, and making. We also believe that engaging in learning experiences like those offered at the Fab Lab help participants to develop critical metacognitive learning strategies, such as patience, persistence and planning that will enable them to thrive and succeed in a variety of environments in the future. Practices such as iteration, playful experimentation, self-compassion, collaboration and leveraging information resources are as much an important outcome as skills with any given tool or software. If you are interested in metacognitive learning you may wish read about our research on learning with the NSF-funded MAPLE project.

In addition to the experience of making really cool things on 3D printers, digital embroidery machines and more, all camps include some take-home creations. If your child is in a textile camp, for example, he or she will be bringing home the items sewn during the week. Campers enrolled in camps where the creation is digital will take home a file that they can share. Podcasters will bring home an audio file, RPG makers will bring home a game file that they can play at home, and so on. Some camp take-homes may rely on how much time and effort participants put into the process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know I successfully registered my child for camp?

After you register, you will receive an automated confirmation email. If you do not receive an email, please contact us to make sure we know you are coming.

Is my child ready for a Fab Lab Camp?

Most of our camps and workshops require some computer skills. If you would like to make sure your child is ready, check out our guidelines. If you would like to sign up your child for a camp, but he or she isn’t old enough yet, it might be possible be granted an exception. This is at the instructor’s discretion and your child may be required to come to the lab to demonstrate proficiency.

What’s your refund policy?

A full refund, minus a $10 service fee, is available if registration is cancelled no later than thirty days before the first day of camp. A 50% refund is available if registration is cancelled no later than 10 days before the first day of camp. A partial refund may also be available up until 2 business days before the start of the camp if we are able to fill the slot. If you would like to cancel to get a refund contact communityfablab@gmail.com.

I have a child who would be really interested in a Fab Lab camp, but I can’t afford it. Are there scholarships available?

Your child may be eligible for a discount on camp tuition if your family income is below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines – if your family qualifies for free lunch (it does not matter if your child is presently receiving). Please feel free to contact us for more information.

I’m not familiar with some of the tools and programs you are using. Could you tell me about them?

The easiest way to get an idea of what our activities look like is to check out the tutorial gateway. If you have additional questions about specific camps, please feel free to email us with questions.

Where can I find listings for camps from previous years?

See the Archive (2015) (2016)(2017).

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Photos from Previous Camps

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