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ISU Makerspace Lab open house Thursday

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – Experience the innovative learning movement known as ‘Makerspace’ by joining Idaho State’s College of Education for the opening of its new Makerspace Lab on Thursday.

The opening house goes from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 122 in the College of Education Building.

The Makerspace Lab is a space developed specifically for College of Education students seeking a degree in education. This lab supports hands-on active learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects. From simple to more complex STEM activities, the Makerspace Lab includes, but is not limited to, technologies such as 3D printers, LAZER etcher, leather crafting, wood burning, coding moveable robotics, Cricut cutting and designing, papyrus making, and more.

Jenn Gallup, Associate Professor of Special Education, and Dr. Beverly Ray, Professor in the Teaching and Educational Studies Department, collaborated to replicate and expand on local Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade (P-12) makerspaces.

“Teachers get all this new technology, but it ends up sitting in the corner of their classroom. Many teachers struggle with the integration of technology into their daily lesson plans. Our goal is to give future and current teachers training and tools to utilize a makerspace as an inclusive tool to support 21st century learning for all students,” Gallup said.

The Makerspace Lab was created to accomplish two goals. First, to educate and provide hands-on training to current College of Education students with a focus on supporting students with disabilities and typically developing students equitably in a makerspace, and secondly to support all P-12 and higher educators who are seeking professional development training in active STEM learning and technologies.

“Not only does the Makerspace Lab give teachers the training needed to provide their students with essential 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and creative freedom, the makerspace also provides students a platform to increase their socialization skills with peers, especially students who have a disability,” Gallup said. “As an example, students with autism are often gifted in the area of STEM but struggle socially; working in a makerspace with their peers allows collaboration in an environment where they thrive by using these hands-on activities and projects to learn critical communication and social skills with their peers.”

The makerspace movement started over a decade ago with its incorporation into P-12 settings; however, many teachers are still entering the field and are underprepared to harness the power of a makerspace. In addition, there is a growing need for higher education professional development to help P-12 general and special educators access 21st century learning tools.

The Makerspace Lab was generously supported by donors through the Dean’s Excellence fund. The lab brings together multiple disciplines within the College of Education and has the potential to impact all pre-service teachers and teachers in Southeast Idaho and beyond.

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