Reis, Vaughn present on the importance of makerspaces in modern education

Teaching and Learning Technologies staff members, Dan Reis and Michael Vaughn, represent Elon's Maker Hub at two international conferences and share the important role making can play in education.

Elon's Dan Reis and Michael Vaughn recently offered their insights into how university makerspaces can play important roles in higher education at two international conferences. 

Reis, senior instructional technologist at Elon, participated in The International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM), where he presented on the development and integration of Elon's Kickbox program, which offers guidance and funding for students to develop an idea. ISAM, which fosters community and learning for those who are passionate about making, is held at Case Western Reserve University and hosts roughly 500 conference attendees annually.

“The most powerful aspect of Kickbox for me is watching the students at our showcase events,” Reis said. 

For the third year in a row, the Maker Hub has awarded several students a “Kickbox,” – a box filled with instructions, resources, and $300 – to help students develop innovative ideas and turn them into a reality. During his presentation, Reis shared how his inspiration for the Kickbox came from Adobe, which similarly provides its winners with everything they need to generate, prototype, and test a new innovative idea.

The presentation generated a lot of buzz, with faculty members around the country tweeting about the program. Montana State University’s Makerspace Lab Director, Matthew Griffin, tweeted “Elon Kickbox, Idea Support in a Box! Awesome way to support student innovation.”

Elon Technology continued to make a splash in the teaching and learning community, with Instructional Technologist Michael Vaughn presenting at the most recent International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (ISSOTL). Vaughn, one of the few who presented on educational technology, spoke of the benefits of learning outside of traditional academic frameworks.

In his talk, Vaughn expressed that without creativity and innovation in education, students can become overwhelmed by the pressure to be perfect and avoid failure. He emphasized how makerspaces teach students to embrace imperfections and learn creative and healthy ways to succeed.

Vaughn shared how educators can utilize making and makerspaces to help students to welcome mistakes and find more enjoyable and creative ways of learning.

The theme of this year’s ISSOTL conference was “Reaching New Heights,” with faculty members, staff and students from around the country sharing innovative ways to improve teaching and learning.

With the help of Reis and Vaughn, Teaching and Learning Technologies continues to foster innovative learning through Elon’s makerspaces. Gathering inspiration from Elon’s own Maker Hubs, universities and organizations across the country are exploring how makerspaces can benefit a campus all-around and make creativity a core part of the learning experience.

To learn more about Elon’s two Maker Hub locations and what they have to offer, visit the Maker Hub website. Check out the Stories on the Hub series to see how Elon faculty are incorporating the Maker Hub into their coursework and engaging students in and out of the classroom.