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Who We Work With

We work with hands-on learning communities that emphasize STEM/STEAM education, creativity, and/or self management and social skills.

Read on to learn more about what this means and the other characteristics we look for in potential partners.

If you aren’t sure if your program or idea fits into this framework, please reach out to us so we can explore more together! Contact us at info@schoolfactory.org.


Definition of Terms

Note: All links below lead to groups we work with that exemplify that type of program.

Learning Community: By our definition, learning communities have in common a spirit of fellowship, excitement about learning, mentorship, and exploration. Sometimes this happens in traditional learning environments like libraries or schools, or smaller contexts within a school, although not all schools fit this description. Many of the learning communities we support are collaborative spaces, physical places that provide shared resources and a platform for people to learn and work together. Others are programs that provide workshops on a particular topic or communities within a business. Some have “teachers” and “students,” while in others everyone learns from each other equally. Some are long-term places and programs, while others sprout up for a weekend and then evaporate.

Hands-On Learning: This takes many forms, but the basic idea is that you are learning by doing rather than listening to a lecture and taking a test. In formal educational settings, we support the use of project-based learning methodologies. In many of the collaborative spaces we support, individuals learn how to make something by jumping right in and doing it. This usually takes place in a workshop, a group setting, or via mentorship from another space member. Other programs provide a structured challenge for people to explore in different contexts and communities.

STEM/STEAM Education: STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We believe there is a gap between the supply and demand for these skill sets. Whenever possible, we encourage groups to use the STEAM model, which integrates art for a more holistic approach. We need the arts and humanities to make us well-rounded people, and the arts in particular teach us the creative thinking we need to apply STEM learning to new challenges. In addition to supporting many adult and after-school programs that teach these skills, we partner with schools that want to integrate a makerspace or other STEM-focused programming into their offerings.

Creativity: We support groups that teach innovation and creativity -- ways of thinking, feeling, and creating that release the unnecessary constraints we often place on ourselves. Many of these places and programs focus on the arts, while others focus on innovation within business or other contexts.

Self-Management & Social Skills: We work with groups that teach social skills like communication, collaboration, and facilitation. We also include self understanding and self management as part of this bucket, incorporating themes like personal health, knowing your strengths, mindfulness practices, and insights from positive psychology about how we can orient ourselves to be happier, healthier, and more productive people.