Author Archives: Angela Vanden Elzen

Makerspaces & Pedagogy: How (and Why) to Integrate the Makerspace into Your Courses

Interested in adding 3D printing and other makerspace tools to your courses, but not sure how? Below is a presentation delivered to Lawrence University faculty about some of the whys and hows of using the LU makerspace with coursework.

View the full presentation (with notes) in Google Slides

Here’s a general outline of the presentation:

  • What is a makerspace and what’s in our makerspace?
  • Why makerspaces?
    • Hands-On, Kinesthetic, Active Learning
    • Problem Solving Process
    • Differentiation of Learning
    • Prepare for Work
    • Wellness
    • Engaged Learning at Lawrence University
  • Challenges of educational makerspaces
  • Examples of uses from projects at LU and elsewhere by discipline/general subject area
    • Studio Art
    • Art History
    • Theatre Arts
    • Film Studies
    • Math & Computer Science
    • Music
    • Humanities
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology & Neuroscience
    • Sciences
    • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Things made by students outside of classwork
  • Things made by student organizations and campus departments
  • Where to find this stuff?
    • 3D print search engines & general repositories
    • Lesson plans
  • Designing
  • How to go about adding this stuff to your classes
  • Discussion

Since we presented this, we’ve also worked on a couple more ways to help faculty add the makerspace tools and equipment to their courses and research:

  • Makerspace Assignment Request Form: By letting us know about the intended learning outcomes and equipment they’d like to use, we can do some research and set up a time to meet to discuss assignment ideas.
  • Faculty 3D Printing Request Form: We’re happy to print objects that faculty may need for their teaching or scholarly/creative work. While faculty are welcome to come over and do their own printing, we know that sometimes this isn’t possible.
One slide from the presentation. Image links to the Google Slide of the full presentation.

More Virtual Reality at Lawrence University!


“One of the reasons I did that project was not only to explore my interest in it but also to give Lawrence the chance to pioneer in an art medium and form that not many schools are doing yet.”
Christopher Gore-Gammon ’17, on creating with virtual reality

There have been lots of exciting new projects and class assignments happening with VR (virtual reality) at Lawrence University! Take a look at the recent Lawrence University News post, “Use of VR tech now reality in classrooms; FaCE grant to ramp up pace” to learn all about them!

Maker Competencies

To help our faculty create assignments that use the makerspace and have easily assessable outcomes, we’ve put together some Maker Competencies.

Click on image to see a larger version of the competencies in Flickr.

ACQUIRING & SHARING SKILLS:

  • Learns new equipment or technology and is able to use with minimal supervision
  • Exhibits a strong enough grasp of new skills to assist peers with newly-acquired knowledge

THINKING CREATIVELY:

  • Applies meaning to projects as tied to coursework
  • Uses abstract thinking to apply a tool or technology in a new way to carry out task
  • Employs creative thinking and problem solving to arrive at end product

ACCOMPLISHING GOALS:

  • Follows multi-step, procedure-based tasks in the correct order
  • Realizes an idea from concept to finished project

RESPECTING SPACE & OTHERS:

  • Uses tools in a safe and respectful manner
  • Demonstrates care and neatness with equipment and shared space
  • Respects copyright and intellectual property, gives credit when appropriate
  • Shows empathy toward others by following rules of the space

We hope these competencies will help makerspace educators, teachers, professors, etc. come up with fun, inspiring, hands-on assignments with outcomes that can be easily assessed!

Makerspace Assignments for Existing Courses

At a presentation to our faculty over the summer, we had the opportunity to share some of the awesome ways our makerspace and its tools and equipment can be integrated into a wide range of academic disciplines. Some of what we talked about is on our assignments by subject page.  We were a little worried that all of the new project ideas could be overwhelming, however, especially when many faculty are interested in working with existing courses. In an effort to make things a little easier to digest, we came up with the following:

How to Integrate the Makerspace into your Courses:

  • Look at your courses and think about how a creative assignment or visualization might help in the understanding of a concept, event, place, etc.
  • Think about times during the course when many students had a difficult time understanding or staying engaged with the content and may have benefited from hands-on work or a change of scenery.
  • Do a library database search to find articles about different ways 3D printing & other makerspace tools have been integrated into your discipline.
  • Do a web search to find content about different ways 3D printing & other makerspace tools have been integrated into your discipline.
  • Contact your friendly makerspace coordinators. We have tons of ideas and are happy to chat about them!

It’s even available as an image, if you’d prefer! We know assignment design is a complex process, but we hope these tips can at least make it a little easier for faculty of all academic disciplines to provide high-tech, hands-on coursework for their students.