AFFOA established a partnership between Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS), MIT – Edgerton Center, and AFFOA HQ to develop a technical high school curriculum in Advanced Functional Fabrics. The curriculum kicked off with a design and product challenge presented to GLTS students to create a product that utilizes AFF technology that solve customer needs. Students visited the Fabric Discovery Center at AFFOA HQ (Cambridge, MA) to learn about current innovative technologies in the fabric space, and were encouraged to look at the world and how they could make the world a better place utilizing AFF technology in everyday products. Students also visited AFFOA member, New Balance, at the Lawrence, MA location to begin ensuring that their product ideas are grounded in customer need and aligned with industry needs.
On January 31, 2019, 36 GLTS students pitched their product ideas at AFFOA HQ to technical and design expert AFFOA staff. Each student had 2 minutes to pitch their product ideas, followed by 3 minutes of feedback from judges. Based on the feedback, students will go back to GLTS and begin teaming up with fellow students who have similar product visions. Students will incorporate the feedback received from the judges and teachers to improve their product ideas to meet the needs of end-users. In late February, students will return to AFFOA HQ to present their fully scoped out product ideas.
The product design challenge culminates on March 15 with an open to the public exhibition at GLTS. At the exhibition, students will present their learnings and product concept prototypes.