Extending OSH to Schools: NTLS / GOSH Collaboration

Short Story:

Teacher educator STEM associations affiliated with the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) coalition are working to extend open hardware to K-12 schools. During the course of the next year, the NTLS coalition wishes to collaborate with members of GOSH who are also interested in open hardware in schools, culminating in a symposium at next year’s NTLS technology leadership summit in Fall 2024.

Full Post:

Open-source science hardware has grown exponentially at the post-secondary level. This movement has been fueled by advances in digital fabrication technologies and inexpensive microcontrollers.

A pivotal moment occurred when the Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) was established with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Benefits include significant savings that make science hardware accessible to more diverse audiences, designs that can be customized for a specific research task, and a deeper understanding of scientific equipment.

The predominant use of open science hardware has been at the postsecondary level (Heradio, et al., 2018). Four national teacher educator STEM associations affiliated with the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) coalition are actively working to extend open hardware to K-12 schools:

  • Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)
  • Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE)
  • International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA)
  • M.I.T.’s Fab Foundation and its network of 2,500 Fabrication Laboratories

With support from the National Science Foundation Pathways to Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE) grant (NSF # 2229627), these associations jointly announced the launch of the first peer-reviewed Educational CAD Model Library at the 24th National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) held at the headquarters of the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. Alison Parker, a senior policy analyst in the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center for the International Center for Scholars, attended as an observer representing the Gathering for Open Science Hardware.

Now that the CAD Library has been launched, books (i.e., educational objects) need to be reviewed and placed on the shelves. The NTLS associations are seeking funding to continue this effort in collaboration with GOSH. For example, GOSH and NTLS are currently collaborating on adaptation of the OpenFlexure microscope - a laboratory-grade microscope that can be constructed using 3D printed parts and a Raspberry Pi single-board computer – for use in schools.

Potential support from funding agencies would be used to support efforts to expand this project to identify and adapt open hardware projects for use in K-12 schools. This work, continuing throughout the coming year, would culminate in a one-day meeting of NTLS and GOSH leaders held the day before the 25th National Technology Leadership Summit in September 2024. Policy recommendations for extending open hardware to schools would be announced at the summit. A related NTLS policy strand would then focus on implementation of the recommended policies.

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Sounds cool! If you can, please clarify if this pertains to just specific regions or languages (like just USA, or juat english speaking schools) :slight_smile:

Physical objects can transcend regions and languages. We are collaborating with the Fab Learning Academy, which is piloting a program to match Fab Labs with teachers to facilitate design of objects for teaching. The pilot academy took place in six countries that included Spain, Brazil, Finland, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.

As a result of that pilot academy, we are currently working with a teacher in Singapore who has developed a Wave Machine designed to illustrate wave motion:

That said, we have more experience / expertise with English. But new translation programs are making that less of a barrier than it once was.

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Are you aware of any decent repository or GOSH activity for bio-lab
sessions as STEM activities?


With the exception of the OpenFlexure microscope, the majority of our experience in the School of Education at the University of Virginia has been related to physical science rather than life science. However, the chair of the University’s Biomedical Engineering department,
Shayn Peirce-Cottler, has developed a number of educational activities for schools:

We have a meeting with her tomorrow, and I can ask if she knows of any activities that involve biolab sessions as STEM activities.

Also, the folks in the Barcelona Fab Lab may have developed some bio activities for schools:

We can also follow up with them to see if they have any that they might share.