Under the pavement – the classroom of the future

There’s something very exciting happening deep in the basement of London’s Somerset House.

The Pearson Lab at Makerversity
The Pearson Lab at Makerversity

Blossoming under the paving stones, in a huge East Wing space previously occupied by the HMRC archives, is a growing community of designers, makers and tech experts called Makerversity.

Makerversity opened at the end of last year under the stewardship of designer Tom Tobia – who has a background in service and social innovation.

The organisation’s stated aim is to ‘kick-start the Third Industrial Revolution in the heart of London’. It does this by offering work space to makers and manufacturers – and tools, inspiration and applied learning opportunities to young people.

The ‘classroom of the future’ project, unveiled by Makerversity and learning company Pearson this week, perfectly distils the Makerversity mission.

Simply put, the Pearson Lab is a flexible space hosting a range of prototyping and manufacturing tools – such as 3D printers, open-source CAD software and Arduino kits.

Through partnerships with schools and other organisations, young people will be brought into the space to work on hands-on design and manufacturing projects.

3D printing at the Pearson Lab
3D printing at the Pearson Lab

But as well as working on these projects, the youngsters will also iterate the space around them. So, for example, if one technology is preferred over another, there can be more of a focus on this.

Even the furniture is up for grabs, with the youngsters using 3D printed components to ‘hack’ the tables and chairs and make them more adjustable.

The aim of the space, as Tobia says, is to provide youngsters with opportunities and experiences they may not otherwise have and to prove to them that they can have careers in design and manufacturing.

While working in the Pearson Lab, youngsters will be near the other designers and makers in Makerversity, while organisations such as Kide, an education design project, will host workshops in the space.

As Tobia says, ‘We’re [developing] a learning space for a collaborative community of global makers and problem-solvers, who are interested in changing the future of education for the better.’

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