Report from ISAM 2017
Report from ISAM 2017
Several of us here at UTA Libraries had the privilege of attending and presenting our work at the International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, between September 24-27 2017.
Morgan Chivers presented his paper titled “Scaling the DIY Approach: Do-It-Together with Student Staff Service Learning,” discussing how he utilized real projects to train new student workers in the UTA FabLab during the expansion of the space between 2016-2017. Rather than purchasing our hardwood work tables, students built them from scratch under Morgan’s leadership. The tables ended up costing less, were of better quality than comparable commercial work tables, and student workers learned a great deal about tools, materials and the design and fabrication processes.
Katie Musick Peery and Morgan Chivers (pictured) presented their paper titled “Walking the Walk: Iterative Design in Student Staff Service Learning Projects,” discussing student-led service learning projects for the UTA FabLab, including FabApp and OctoPuppet, the software that provides the backbone for our FabLab operations.
I presented a paper co-written by myself, Katie, Morgan and Gretchen Trkay titled “Making Maker Literacies: Integrating Academic Library Makerspaces into the Undergraduate Curriculum,” an overview of the Maker Literacies pilot program ongoing at UTA. I talked about a few of the courses that have participated in the program so far, and announced the IMLS National Leadership Grant for Libraries that UTA Libraries has been awarded to trial our program at other universities.
This was a jam packed conference; fortunately, all of the papers and presentation slides have been made available on the ISAM 2017 website. My favorite presentation was delivered by Leah F. Rosenbaum from UC Berkeley. Her paper, titled “Where Be Dragons? Charting the Known (and Not So Known) Areas of Research on Academic Makerspaces,” was a meta-analysis of publishing activity within the domain of makerspaces. The reason why I liked it so much was because it confirmed our own findings here at UTA, that very little publishing has taken place in the area of measuring student learning in makerspaces, and that there is a severe lack of hard data in the existing literature that confirms the impact that makerspaces have on learning. We hope that our research, conducted using the aforementioned IMLS grant, will begin to fill some of these gaps. It was very exciting for me to receive independent verification about the non-existence of good data in this emerging area.