Innovative Pop-Up Makerspace Comes to Three Rivers Community College
Professor of Early Childhood Education Sheila Skahan introduced the idea of the pop-up makerspace to Three Rivers. She was inspired by “Sparks,” the makerspace in New London, an exhibit at MoMA, and the experience of bringing her own class to the Three Rivers Community College manufacturing lab to help them visualize blueprints for flexible classroom seating. Skahan wanted to expand the experiential learning opportunities at Three Rivers and formed a committee to bring it to fruition.
The Three Rivers Foundation funded the project, which created a highly visible, beautiful space that gives faculty an opportunity to introduce experiential learning into the classroom. Sandra Jeknavorian, Professor of Art and Gallery Director, was open to the concept and has created the visual innovations. Skahan explained, “Faculty can incorporate the space and tools into their own disciplines or use it as a community builder within their classroom time.”
The makerspace will be incorporated into classes in different ways depending on the subject and curriculum. Students will work closely to create structural forms to facilitate imaginations and higher-order thinking.
- Mike Gentry, Assistant Professor of Engineer, passionate about experiential learning and robotics, will be hosting a two-week LEGO contest. The LEGOS are white which will allow students to focus on form.
- One public speaking class is going to allow students to create a mock “Shark Tank.” Students will collaborate in small groups to create a prototype item and then will spend two classes “pitching” their ideas as a form of persuasive speech.
- The makerspace committee will host tours and lectures on the role and intent of makerspaces. After the five weeks have elapsed, the Legos and KEVA Planks will be available to borrow from the library so classes can continue to embrace active learning.