On Wednesday, October 26, Brock held its annual Hackfest in the James A. Gibson library, hosting an assortment of programmers and coding enthusiasts and encouraging group collaboration to achieve common goals. This being the third year of its kind, Hackfest utilized the brand-new state-of-the-art creative Makerspace in the library to provide resources for participants and allow for personal learning and growth in programming and design. This being the week of the official opening and launch of the Makerspace, providing a new and exciting environment for creators in and outside of the coding world.
Hackfest 3.0 served as a crash course in coding for beginners Welcoming interested students of all levels in the programming world, experienced programmers were on hand to guide participants through the world of coding. Workshops and demos were held for those interested in learning more about the hardware based on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms. These platforms are unique and well-known in the programming and hardware design world, as they can provide functioning access to large-scale processes but only require a minimal amount of physical space.
Along with the actual act of coding and learning how to program software, Hackfest served as a way to introduce students to DIY and creative culture. Students were encouraged to come up with ideas for things they would like to produce on their own or as a group, and many came up with innovative ideas, such as a USB-controlled footpedal or using a DIY setup to control multi-connective electric household items. Code was hosted using servers/user-friendly interfaces such as GitHub and students had the ability to collectively chat as well as ask questions and seek guidance regarding their creative visions for projects.
The library’s Makerspace, where Hackfest was held, is the first of its kind in Brock history. With the slogan of “learn things + make stuff”, the Makerspace hosts an array of creatively-powered resources open for use by any and all who seek it out, with the intentions of fostering innovation and creative thought among students and faculty. Mark Robertson, a librarian at Brock, spoke at the Makerspace opening and launch this past Monday. “One of the most exciting things about the Makerspace is that you can quite literally see the cross-fertilization of ideas, people learning from each other and swapping ideas,” said Robertson, “It doesn’t matter what discipline you are from, the Makerspace is open to all.”
For more information on the library Makerspace, students are welcomed to come see it in person in the James A. Gibson library and ask questions of library staff, or check out the resources online at https://make.library.brocku.ca/. Consultations on project guidance are available, and upcoming workshops will be held for students and faculty in future, so all are encouraged to keep an eye out for announcements.