SparkTruck is inspiration on wheels. It is a step van full of 21st century shop tools like a laser cutter and 3D printers, and it brings these tools, space, and resources for sparking creativity to children. It was conceived by a group of six Stanford University graduate students in design, engineering and education during the 2011-12 school year.
This summer, in partnership with Instructables and PBS’s Design Squad Nation, SparkTruck is running workshops at schools, camps and museums in cities like San Francisco, Bellevue, Austin, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Kicking off at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June, the truck then swings through the Pacific Northwest visiting Seattle, Aberdeen, and Portland before heading back across the Rockies towards the Atlantic. In mid-October, SparkTruck will make its final stop at TEDx Manhattan Beach, where the team will share stories from their cross-country adventures in making.
SparkTruck has received praise from teachers, students, and parents, and has been featured in press like Core77, The Stanford Daily, The Huffington Post and MAKE. At Maker Faire, Bay Area’s festival of hands-on creativity, SparkTruck garnered an Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon Award. David Kelley, founder of the global design firm IDEO and the team’s advisor, said, “It’s really exciting to see you bringing this creative confidence back to students… this is the kind of learning that really sticks with kids.”
For more information, photos, and videos about SparkTruck and the “Sparkin’ Across America” tour, visit http://www.sparktruck.org.