I went down to my hometown in Statesville North Carolina last week.
While there, Boris Klompus and I presented a laser and synth system for the local community college, Mitchell. At Mitchell, in tandem with social programs meant to bolster the Makerspace's instantiation and opening, I gave a talk about collaborative work as a means of collaborative learning: the Makerspace ethos. I used my experience as project manager for ITP's Maker Faire as a narrative model for this essential concept.
The following day I taught an introduction to Arduino at the Makerspace's space, the local county library (Iredell County Library), also in Statesville.
Some press on the Makerspace: http://www.statesville.com/news/makerspace-lab-will-unite-learners/article_0144a63a-dd43-11e4-b21b-93822418766a.html
Makerspace lab will unite learners
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11:00 pm
By Jim McNally firstname.lastname@example.org
Roxanne Newton may have summed up the philosophy underlying a relatively new learning environment called “makerspace” in such simple terms as to make them profound.
“The price for learning,” she said, “is to teach.”
As Mitchell Community College’s dean of faculty development and student engagement with a PhD in Educational Foundations and Cultural Studies, Newton knows a thing about both learning and teaching.
But Newton’s role in shepherding a makerspace project into existence was born during a brain-storming session by the 2015 class of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Statesville program, of which Newton is a member.
If you have never heard of a makerspace before, you’re not alone.
Put simply, makerspaces are labs in which people with diverse backgrounds come together to work on a common project.
“It’s a place to gather for people who like to make,” explained Douglas Slingerland, a Statesville resident who does IT work in Union County.
Slingerland said he has wanted to get a makerspace started in Statesville for years but has found neither the time nor resources to pull it off. When he learned that Leadership Statesville had decided on the creation of one as the group’s annual project, he asked if he could become involved.
“And we are lucky to have him,” said Newton.
Slingerland was on hand last week when Leadership Statesville hosted a makerspace program called “Arduino” at the Iredell County Public Library that was overseen by Newton’s daughter, Hannah Mishin, a multimedia artist and graduate of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications graduate-level program.
“Maybe you’ll have a carpenter and a banker and chef, let’s say,” Slingerland explained. “And they have been doing what they do for 40 years and they are set in their ways. Then you have this 15-16-year-old in the group, who doesn’t know boundaries and the sky’s the limit.”
As library programs go, the Arduino workshop was about as successful as they get. Sign-up for Arduino was limited to 20 slots, but there a waiting list more than half-that long of people who missed the cut.
The program carried a $10 fee -- but costs were offset by a Wells-Fargo Bank donation -- and it involved an understanding of basic computer programming.
The group ranged in age from 12-year-old Houston Finley to 72-year-old Howard Hecht.
Houston is a sixth-grader at Northview School.
“I want to learn how to program (remote control) cars using different power sources,” Houston explained.
Meanwhile, Hecht and his friend, Buzz Borries, 66, were honing skills they have spent a lifetime dabbling in.
“We both have done a lot of electronics,” Borries said. “So we’re not your typical old guys who are new at this kind of thing.”
Both men were also aware of the makerspace concept and expressed their praise of getting one in Statesville.
“I think this is outstanding,” Borries added. “But like anything else, it’s going to take getting the word out and getting backers with some money to make it happen.”
Newton and her classmates are aware of that and have gotten MCC, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Iredell Arts Council, and Iredell Friends of the Library to sign on as community partners.
And as of last week, the group has raised $5,500 toward a goal of $27,000 needed for various types of apparatus such as 3D printers; videography and electronics equipment; sewing machine; software coding materials; and interactive projection systems.
To find out more about Leadership Statesville’s makerspace project or to make a donation, call Ashley Stevenson at 704-873-2892 or Peggy Carter at 704-878-3090.