Making a Makerspace: TLT talks about Elon’s Maker Hub at Appalachian State Conference

Teaching and Learning Technologies’ Instructional Technologist Michael Vaughn and Elon student Connor TeVault recently had the opportunity to share how Elon developed their Maker Hub with attendees of the Appalachian State University Free-Learning Conference.

Attendees of the App State Free-Learning Conference explore, build, and tinker with maker technologies.
Elon University’s makerspace, the Maker Hub, opens at the start of fall semester. The Maker Hub is a constructionist learning space designed to support students, faculty and staff as they pursue projects and build objects that interest them.

Vaughn and TeVault brought maker culture to App State in their presentation on Elon’s Maker Hub. The two provided guidance as conference attendees worked their way through ‘maker stations’ set up around the room. The presentation was a great leadership opportunity for Tevault, a rising senior, who showcased a functional 3D printer he’d built from scratch. Both presenters also gave an overview of what a makerspace is, why Elon is opening one, and what Elon students, faculty and staff will be able to do in the space.

In their presentation, Vaughn argued that a culture of standardized testing in the K-12 world has created a generation of students who enter college lacking three things: An understanding of how learning works, a willingness to struggle with complex ideas and theories, and the resiliency to fight through failure. According to Vaughn, makerspaces combat these obstructive mentalities by promoting a culture of making, which is fueled by a maker mindset.

The community in the Maker Hub will promote a maker mindset, which includes taking ownershipof your learning, developing your intrinsic motivation, and embracing failure as an essential component of your learning process. These are skills that can be developed, and will help students become successful people. TeVault said he believes that “students with a maker mindset don’t view a lack of success as failure.”

The Maker Hub is the result of cross-campus support and collaboration between Instructional & Campus Technologies, Student Life, and several schools and departments (including Engineering, Philosophy, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, iMedia, Belk Library, Performing Arts, the Writing Center, and many others).

Christopher Waters, Assistant Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer, has been a key supporter of the Maker Hub’s establishment. “We believe our ability to support students who are learning to confront and solve big problems will be essential to furthering Elon’s promise of being the leader in engaged learning,” he said. “The Maker Hub is one big way technology can assist these students and that goal.”

The five areas of focus in the Maker Hub are 3D printing and design, basic electronics and soldering, micro-computing, e-textiles, and mobile app development. Projects could include printing digital designs on a 3D printer, building the next great iOS app, sewing programmable blinking lights into a shirt, building and programing a robot arm, constructing circuits, or simply meeting up with friends to tinker with LEGOs.

The Maker Hub is located on the first floor of Harper Hall, and is free to all students, faculty and staff. Instructors interested in incorporating the Maker Hub into a lesson, as well as groups and organizations that are interested in hosting a meeting in the space should email to schedule a consult with a Maker Hub representative. For more information about the Maker Hub, including available equipment, project ideas, and contact information, please visit More details about the Maker Hub will be announced in late summer and early fall.