Sponsored by the state chancellor’s office, the California Community Colleges (CCC) Maker initiative recently announced the recipients for a two-year grant, and Foothill College/KCI made the cut. The initiative was launched with the goal to drive innovation in education, and ultimately to prepare students for success in STEM/STEAM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math). Kyle Brumbaugh, director of the KCI Professional Learning Network, stated, “By participating in the CCC Maker project and creating a makerspace at Foothill College, we hope to establish new educational pathways to STEAM degrees and certificates, as well as supporting the pathways already in place.” One of the grant objectives is to help non-traditional STEAM students—including underrepresented groups, veterans, and economically disadvantaged learners—enter the local Silicon Valley workforce.
KCI’s Makerspace has the potential to become a community hub for makers across San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The grant supports a part-time Maker-in-Residence position, which is pivotal to launching and maintaining the new space. The first year of the grant will focus on transforming one of the computer labs in the KCI into a makerspace that can accommodate up to 32 students. The old computer lab will give way to a space that includes laser cutters, vinyl cutters, soldering stations, 3D printers, and microcontrollers. Programs and classes will be launched for local college and high school students, educators, and community members. KCI is already leveraging its connections in the maker community to design the makerspace and work through implementation, and is fortunate to have a number of instructors qualified to conduct these courses.
KCI has developed ten additional courses, which will be taught in the makerspace, including three for-credit course strands in Design Thinking, Computational Thinking/Computer Science, and 3D Design. In these courses, students will engage in product creation, with an emphasis on design thinking concepts, such as ideation, prototyping, and iteration. These courses will also encourage leadership and soft skills. Another key activity will be providing professional development opportunities for K-14 educators to learn how to implement maker projects in their own classrooms. Teachers will also have the opportunity to work alongside students to fabricate parts, using a variety of materials—from popsicle sticks and hot glue to more sophisticated tools like 3D printers and programming.
KCI has taken the lead by partnering with various divisions at Foothill College—including Fine Arts & Communication; Physical Science, Engineering & Math; and Business & Social Sciences—which will be important to the overall success of the initiative. In year two the plan calls for building out a more industrial FabLab in another area of campus. Stay tuned for more information on the KCI Makerspace as the transformation occurs. For further details, contact Kyle Brumbaugh at