Jumpstarting the Maker Movement in Egypt in 2012, Fab Lab Egypt has crafted itself quite the reputation as a Godfather figure in the MENA region. Along many projects that focused on establishing Fab Labs in both Egypt and the MENA, FLE has always had an educational focus whenever contribution was needed. Such an opportunity presented itself when SABIC, one of the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, organized for a summer maker program for a hundred high school students. SABIC company now has operations in over 50 countries with a global workforce of over 35,000 talented individuals.
The Summer Innovation Program, sponsored by SABIC, included mainly the sons & daughters of SABIC employees. Two Educators from Fab Lab Egypt joined the team, among expert representatives from MAKE, National TalentS Company who provided facilitators and managed logistics, and Innoventions company who covered the ideation of the projects.
SABIC launched its 2017 Summer Innovation Program in 5 cities: Riyadh, Jubail, Yanbu, Hail and Abha, and in its 3-week-program focused on giving students an introduction to the large topics of electronics, fabrication, and robotics. With these themes in mind, the team planned a series of workshops that used a variety of high and low-tech tools and materials. Taking a constructivist approach to the curriculum, the program was designed so that the students could develop their own ideas and ways of understanding, built on connections to their prior knowledge. They were given the freedom to create their own challenges, collaboration emphasized over competition, and were taught to value the process over the end product. The main goal of the program was to help the students start to develop their attitudes and dispositions as makers. Sparking their curiosity, and encouraging self-motivated learning was more important to the team than covering any specific content during the course of the three weeks.
During the 3-week program, the students built basic knowledge about Manufacturing, Control Systems, 2&3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Electronics, Micropits, Sewing Circuits and Mobile Apps Design. Applying that knowledge into their projects, the final day of the event was both an exhibition and a ceremony of graduation.
At the final day of the program, students were excited to showcase their projects in front of VIPs from SABIC, the Ministry of Education, and their parents and families in what was a mini-maker faire prototype.