Michael Stone, vice president of innovative learning at Public Education Foundation, delivered the opening address at a conference in Torres Vedras, Portugal this week. Mr. Stone was invited to this city, an hour north of Lisbon, so that he could help the community create a school-based digital fabrication lab similar to the 35 labs that Mr. Stone has helped Hamilton County Schools install in public schools across the district. His travel expenses were paid through partnerships with the conference organizers and the US Embassy in Portugal.
“It’s been truly exciting to engage with citizens from other countries who want to learn how to do what we are doing in Hamilton County,” Mr. Stone said, speaking from Portugal. “Hamilton County teachers and administrators have incorporated digital fabrication labs into our schools so that our students have the opportunity to use cutting edge technology to solve real problems every day. Leaders in other countries have decided that they want this to happen in their schools too, and they’ve turned to Hamilton County to learn how.”
Earlier in July, Mr. Stone and STEM School Chattanooga teacher Kristin Burrus spoke at the International Society for Technology in Education conference held in New Orleans. This gathering attracts approximately 14,000 educators every year. Mr. Stone and Ms. Burrus spoke about Hamilton County’s Fab Labs and “Fab Folio,” a new mobile app that Hamilton County Schools and Public Education Foundation are developing to help students document and improve their tech skills alongside professional skills communication and collaboration.
“People across the US as well as in other nations are interested in the work going on in Hamilton County,” said Dan Challener, president of Public Education Foundation. “This is all possible thanks to the terrific partnership between Hamilton County Schools, Public Education Foundation, and VW Group of America, who has generously funded many of the digital fabrication labs.”