|A makerspace |
EPL Makerspace (2015) Mack Male. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mastermaq/16994997802/.
At the moment, the Library is creating an institutional makerspace in the Library for all students and staff. The makerspace is supported by NUI Galway's Student Projects' Fund and the Library.
The vision is to provide a technology enabled space for engaged teaching and learning. A space where students can be creative, collaborate, share, develop ideas, innovate, and generally just ‘make stuff’.
Makerspaces are do-it-yourself spaces that provide opportunities and tools to create collaboratively by people with shared interests. They are also known as hacker spaces, hack labs, hack spaces, and maker labs. The space will provide, among other things, 3D printing, electronics kits and components, high powered computers, and software for digital media creation, such as Photoshop.
Bringing these items together in a single location is important because they may not be available elsewhere due to associated high costs.
Benefits of Makerspaces
The main benefit is engaged learning using technology, resulting in deeper student engagement and learning. The most commonly cited example of engaged education using makerspaces is in Chemistry, with students creating models of molecules using makerspace design software and then printing these models in the makerspace’s 3d printer.
Makerspaces also foster a culture of creativity and innovation. They also encourage cross-discipline collaboration and communication, as shown by students from engineering and the sciences working with students from the social sciences and humanities.
Importantly, Makerspaces give students knowledge and practical experience of tools, such as Photoshop or 3d printing, which are normally out of reach due to high costs.
In terms of post University life, makerspaces provide tools and experience that is relevant to today’s marketplace. By using these professional tools, NUI Galway students will be more work-ready and employable.
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