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Chinese Education Delegates Get Schooled in the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

On October 29, 2019, delegates from the Zhejiang Department of Education visited Delran High School in Burlington County as part of a sister school program between Kean University, Wenzhou-Kean University, and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education.

Delran District’s STEM co-coordinators and co-leads of the Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance, Erica DeMichele and Mary Jo Hutchinson, welcomed the delegation to their school and introduced them to their Innovation & Fabrication Lab, allowing them to explore the makers space and engage in hands-on projects. Delran’s Fabrication Lab provides STEM-rich experiences for Delran students, kindergarten through high school, and includes some of the most state-of-the-art digital fabrication learning tools available.

Senior Brooke Hennegan teaches a Principal from China how to use the Fab@School design software.

“The enthusiasm of the Chinese delegates made us realize just how lucky we are to have creative and capable students who will lead our world in global innovation in the 21st century,” said Erica DeMichele.

Senior Chris Pappas works with a Principal from China using a die-cut paper machine to create a model of one of her favorite American foods - pizza!

“The lessons in the story The Dot translate across languages and cultures. You don't need to be an expert to get started, you just need to make that first mark. Learners become educators and educators become learners, and we got to see that with our STEM Ambassadors teaching our visitors today,” said Mary Jo Hutchinson.

STEM Co-coordinator Mary Jo Hutchinson reads the picture book "The Dot" by author Peter H. Reynolds to the Chinese Delegation to set the stage for their design and fabrication session. This book promotes understanding of a growth mindset in learners.

Student STEM Ambassador Chris Pappas shared his thoughts on today's experience. "It was really neat to intertwine the cultures, and to get to know people who traveled from another country. They had smiles on their faces the whole time. As an Ambassador, I have the privilege of learning the technology and having access to all of these devices. I get to give back to the community and even those beyond the community, coming from overseas. I learned how to be a better teacher and mentor to people who will be coming into the lab."

Gifts fabricated in the Delran Lab for our visitors included tote bags and laser-engraved coasters with the Chinese symbol meaning friendship.

The gifts presented to us by the delegation from China include two beautiful pieces of art, which we will proudly display in our lab. The first depicts a plum tree, a symbol of strength and resilience in China, because they bloom even in the winter. The second piece depicts the classic Chinese Thousand Character Text, which is a Chinese poem used as a primer to teach Chinese symbols to children.

At the end of the visit, the Delran and Zhejiang participants exchanged gifts as a sign of friendship and appreciation for the learning experience. All of the gifts were created and designed by the students from America and China.

The 20 administrators from China's Zhejiang Province used handheld translation devices to break through the language barrier. The message above shows that the delegates had very positive feedback about their experience.
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