The Power of Making: Lunch and Learn leaves faculty with creative ways to engage students at The Maker Hub
Teaching and Learning Technologies hosts a Lunch and Learn discussion for faculty to introduce new ways of learning at the Maker Hub.
By Lindsey Clemmer '18
Elon faculty and staff members gathered on Nov. 9 in the Maker Hub - Downtown to discuss creative ways in which making can be integrated into courses and peer-to-peer teaching. Run by Instructional Technologist and Maker Hub enthusiast Michael Vaughn, this Lunch and Learn event featured four guest speakers: Nim Batchelor, associate professor of philosophy; Jen Hamel, assistant professor of biology; Natalie Hart, assistant professor of performing arts; and LM Wood, associate professor of art.
The overwhelming takeaway from the event was the interdisciplinary benefit of making in the classroom. Faculty shared how the makerspace allows them to challenge their students creatively while providing them the resources and tools that they need to be successful.
“I learned there is nothing that makes a science student more uncomfortable than telling them they have to do this project and be creative,” Hamel said of her biology students. She stressed the importance of encouraging students to extend themselves. Hamel then shared a story of a student using the Maker Hub to create a reptile tank with motion detection lasers in order to track the habits of lizards.
“Making is a way to ask nature a question,” Hamel explained.
Wood shared stories of her art students embracing the Maker Hub. The space allows her students to use tools they might not normally find in an art classroom. Wood shared how one student used the 3D printers to print a copy of his face for a self-portrait project. “I’m very excited about the Maker Hub,” said Wood. “I see it as a great connection to the art program.”
Vaughn explained that Teaching and Learning Technologies chose the name “Maker Hub” because they wanted it to be a space that is open to students and faculty from every discipline to make things together. The space contains 3D printers, a laser engraver and power tools as well as craft supplies. The Maker Hub also holds workshops to teach community members how to use this equipment.
“We see the Maker Hub as a third place where it’s not quite work and it’s not quite school,” explains Vaughn. “It’s something else.”
Bachelor and the other speakers encouraged the group to explore creative ways to utilize the Maker Hub within their own disciplines moving forward. Bachelor also asked participants to spread the message: “Tell your colleagues. Make them aware of what they can do,” inviting them to think outside the box.