June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
The Maker Movement is taking the country by storm. From the emergence of educational and community Fablabs to the programs spawned by the White House’s annual National Day of Making, the Maker Movement is generating enormous excitement in hands-on creation and is stimulating interest in innovation and entrepreneurial activities. Contributing to the popularity of the Maker Movement are the accessibility of low-cost manufacturing tools like 3D printers and laser cutters, availability of cheap and simple embedded controllers, interest in open hardware as a complement to open software, emergence of new device-oriented markets like drones and the internet of things, online sharing of tutorial videos and hackable reference designs, the popularity of crowdfunding opportunities, and the resurgence of interest in US manufacturing capabilities.
Many universities have, or are in the process of establishing, a Maker Lab in order to be a part of this movement. In most cases, these programs are experiencing massive student interest in using these spaces and tools, with students gathering in interdisciplinary groups to design new gadgets and taking pleasure in the act of making things. Many programs have had great success in the initial tasks involved in setting up these spaces, acquiring tools, addressing safety and liability challenges, and establishing appropriate training programs. In many cases, however, there remains ample opportunity to improve the manner in which these Labs are integrated into the educational program, particularly when it comes to supporting Entrepreneurially Minded Learning (EML). In some sense, it is ironic that we speak about how these Labs are stimulating entrepreneurial activity, yet there often is little to no formality in how such activity is educationally guided. Our hypothesis is that intentional EML-oriented educational activities can better steer our students in constructive ways of exploiting maker technology in order to efficiently create value.
In this paper, we will first review some of the opportunities and challenges that arise in creating a Maker Lab program within a University environment, using our experience in developing the Santa Clara University Maker Lab program over the past five years. Second, we will describe opportunities to leverage Maker Lab capabilities, not only in support of outreach activities such as K-12 and adult education, but also to establish an EML-ecosystem through collaborations with business schools and colleges of arts and science, enhancements to industry partnerships, and engagement in EML-oriented outreach and community service activities. Finally, and we will describe the ways we have integrated the use of a Maker Lab in EML activities within course modules, hands-on courses, and real-world engineering projects.
Kitts, C., & Mahacek, A. (2017, June), The Santa Clara University Maker Lab: Creating the Lab, Engaging the Community, and Promoting Entrepreneurial-minded Learning Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29011
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