The monthly Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT) staff meeting for October took place in a different space than usual. The CLT staff visited the Stellenbosch Library Makerspace where not only meeting of the minds could take place, but some innovative and stimulating ideas came to life.
The Makerspace provides an innovative and stimulating environment to staff and registered students for collaborative prototyping, inventing, and learning. Norman Hebler guided the CLT staff through the different design workstations that provide an area for 3D modelling and circuit design, including the computers with aided design software. In addition, there are four construction workstations with oscilloscopes and soldering for those interested in putting hand to task to construct something creative. What sparked the most interest amongst the CLT staff was the 3D modelling and printing possibilities and how ideas for 3D printing can be combined with educational ideas.
According to some of the CLT staff members, there is a fun element to engaging in 3D printing. When students are having fun, they also learn better – the staff can attest to this. The 3D printing process includes a design component where ideas can creatively be transformed into a design while you also develop your creative computer design skills. After designing the idea on the computers, the idea and design are made manifest when being 3D printed. According to staff the printing process made the design a reality and can be used innovatively for teaching props (technology). Some staff experienced the time in the Makerspace as a “whole-brain thinking” experience, “unlocking” the use of one’s brain that is not necessarily activated while engaging with specific disciplinary knowledge. Some staff described the experience as mind-blowing since even small, printed objects can have great meaning that stimulates further learning and/or meaningful experiences through a “new-found” creative lens. Another real-life remark was that the 3D experience brought the fun and excitement back into education, affirming the importance of considering more progressive approaches in education. 3D printing could also be used to print prototypes of objects that can assist in students’ experiential learning experience.
The CLT staff did not only learn more about what the Makerspace has to offer, the infinite innovation possibilities and how to manifest creative ideas, but also learned more from one another in a fun way and in a different space.
For more information on the Makerspace, visit the website here.