Southeast Missouri State University student publication

EDvolution Center’s Makerspace gets a makeover

Monday, March 30, 2020

The EDvolution Center was created at Southeast in 2016, and after a couple of years, the center was in need of a facelift.

Coordinator for the EDvolution Center Jana Gerard came to Southeast in August of 2019, and said she is dedicating her time to making the center a more practical and hands-on facility for students to enjoy, beginning with the Makerspace makeover.

The makeover was a low-cost upgrade for more modern tools for students to use and implement in their classes, Gerard said, and it cost less than $600.

The makeover consisted of repurposing tools and furniture to make the facility more practical. For example, old computer parts are now being used in what is called the “breaker’s space,” where students can explore how simple machines, such as fans and screws, can make up a complex machine like a computer.

She said the original center itself was a great foundation for her to work with, and it was a team within the College of Education, Health and Human Studies’ decision to update the center, especially the Dr. Shelton and Glenda Smith Family Makerspace, named after the Smith family whose generosity helped make the Makerspace a reality.

“Makerspace is supposed to be hands-on, and there were some things in there that weren’t super hands-on,” Gerard said. So they rearranged some things within the space and brought in more practical tools.

The center is open to all students, contrary to popular belief. Students are free to use the facility’s computers, 3D printers and a podcast room, among other tools.

Gerard said the Makerspace is now based on what is called the “Design Thinking Process,” which is a problem-solving process used by many majors that are interacting with a variety of problems.

“It starts with the empathy steps, so you empathize with the problem — you think about ‘Who am I actually trying to solve this problem for?’” Gerard said. “Then you define the problem, so, ‘Do I truly understand what problem I am trying to solve?’ Then you ideate, then prototype, then test, and finally implement.”

Gerard said the Design Thinking Process is not just limited to education majors. That is why the EDvolution Center is open to anyone, especially other majors that use this process, such as business or communication disorder majors.

The center also offers other hands-on accommodations for students to use, such as a green screen room and a virtual reality room.

For students in Education, Health and Human Studies, many of the tools are free if their purpose is to use it for a class, such as the 3D printer.

Some of the tools within the center may come at a price for non-EHHS majors, such as the laser-cutter engraver and large-format poster printer. However, Gerard said the prices at the center are significantly cheaper than going to a store, such as Staples, to get printing done.

For more information about the EDvolution Center, visit www.semo.edu/tec or visit the center on the second floor of Scully.

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