Makerspace offers experiential learning opportunities

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Workshops offered throughout the year by the Makerspace provide students with important experiential opportunities that can be incorporated into their projects and assignments.

The Makerspace will be offering a Carving and Engraving: Cricut workshop on November 27, 2019. The event will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Classroom B in the library.

The workshop will offer a basic lesson using the Cricut cutting machine but the projects made will be student driven. The staff in the Makerspace aim to make the technology accessible and to work at the level and the interests of those attending.

Tabitha Lewis, Makerspace coordinator, explained that in past workshops attendees did not want to make a card but instead wanted a laptop sticker.

“In the end they left with something they wanted to get from the workshop. So we definitely set the expectation that this is not advanced or high level. This is basically an introduction. The outcomes may vary but at the end they will leave confident that they can try [creating] on their own and come back in the future to use the technology by themselves or with very little support.”

The Makerspace offers students new resources and an opportunity to use technology they would normally not have access to.

“It helps students academically; they start building skills through doing. They get to start thinking critically, problem solving, they build resilience trying to understand the process and appreciate the learning process. [It is] a nice space to have fun and collaborate in a creative  environment. We don’t have many spaces that are just open to anyone with this type of technology on campus. It is usually in the engineering department and Marilyn I. Walker whereas here it is very much a library space that is open to everyone,” said Lewis.

The Makerspace has a variety of technologies Brock students can access. Students pay a small fee towards materials but technologies such as podcast equipment, 3D printers, DSLR cameras and the new sewing machine are typically available for use.

According to Lewis, when Makerspace began their aim was to make people aware of the technology. However, all of these technologies could play a role in future assignments as professors and students are beginning to incorporate the usage of them into their syllabi.  One communications class did an activity on the physical representation of a word connected to social justice.

“We have three classes actively using 3D printing as part of the syllabus. [The students] come in and take concepts they have learned whether communications, game designs even English studies where they are able to take a learning outcome and use the 3D modeling technology to achieve learning outcomes,” said Lewis.

One fourth-year student, although she was afraid of the technology at first, started with checking out the space, asking questions, then taking workshops and was eventually able to create her final project as a 3D model of the inner canal of an ear.

“She took the core ideas of 3D modelling and how to apply it to her 3D model. Sometimes it is not us making the connections but sometimes students say this is cool … and how can I apply this. Sometimes faculty come in and say this is cool my students may benefit from learning this skill.”

The Makerspace is moving to a new, bigger home. This will allow for more tools to be available. Lewis is excited about being able to put out the laser cutter, the resin printer, the audio booth, the new video room and more.

Students are encouraged to check out the space, take part in workshops, explore ways to enhance their own learning and incorporate experiential learning into their studies. The Makerspace provides a great opportunity to be creative and see where technology can take their learning.

For more information visit brocku.ca/library/makerspace/ or Experience BU for workshop details. Or visit Makerspace and chat about the options available.

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