College Of Education Creates Makerspace

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The College of Education has renovated a new makerspace and classroom-learning lab stocked with high-tech gadgets that students are free to use.

Wake said the goal of the renovations was to create a collaborative and technologically advanced workspace for education students.

“We had a vision for turning teachers out into their profession who were comfortable with the technology and who could use the technology to empower and engage students,” Wake said.

She said the only way the department could do this was to create the tech center.

The space also features a makerspace complete with six 3-D printers, MacBook computers and other, smaller
tech items.

The makerspace has two 3Doodlers, which are “pens” that melt stiff plastic fibers that the user can use to draw
3D shapes straight up from the paper.

Wake said the department was able to purchase so many gadgets that some of them, like the robots, Spheros and Tigglys, had to be placed in storage.

Spheros are spherical robots whose movements are controlled by a smartphone or tablet.

Tigglys are sets of toy letters, numbers and symbols that young children can use to interact with the special Tiggly App to enhance their learning.

The space also features a green screen recording area equipped with iPads that students can use to change
the backgrounds of the green screen from the Great Pyramids to the northern lights and many more.

“This renovation has really transformed it into a modern learning environment,” Technology Specialist Ashton Hankins said. “It’s an area that we really hope future students can enjoy.”

Hankins said in the classroom learning lab, moveable chairs and tables were added to give students  a more collaborative work environment that would give them the opportunity to work in groups.

“[The space] is designed to be a learning area for our students so that they can go into the public-school districts and start their own and know how to work within a makerspace,” Hankins said. “It’s more about giving this knowledge of what a makerspace is to our students.”

Hankins said the pre-existing computer lab said the bulky computers made it difficult for students to work with each other, and that the screens blocked the view of the instructor.

“Every chair now has a 180 [degree]view and there’s nothing in between you or anybody else,” Hankins said.

Hankins said she’s only received positive feedback from students about the renovations.

The Technology Learning Center is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Caroline is a junior majoring in journalism and anthropology at UCA and this is her fifth semester working with the Echo. She is the Assistant Online Editor.

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